Losing in online poker games is not just a matter of bad luck now. Researchers have found that hackers can use a malware designed for online poker platforms PokerStars and Full Tilt can peek at the cards of infected opponents and give an advantage to the hackers.
Malware researchers from Slovakia based IT security firm called ESET have found the new trojan named Odlanor, which attacks poker players playing on PokerStars and Full Tilt - two of the most popular poker websites online.
"The attacker seems to operate in a simple manner: After the victim has successfully been infected with the trojan, the perpetrator will attempt to join the table where the victim is playing, thereby having an unfair advantage by being able to see the cards in their hand," says Robert Lipovsky, a malware researcher at ESET.
Lipovsky suggests that there are about 1,000 cases that have been documented of such malware attacks since March this year. About 36 percent of the victims are from Russia and 35 percent from Ukraine. ESET also suggests that many online poker players in the Czech Republic, Poland, Hungary Belarus and Kazakhstan have also been victimized.
While ESET reports of the malware that gives unfair advantage to hackers, PokerStars claims that no such attacks on the servers of Full Tilt and PokerStars have been claimed by players.
PokerStars also displays a security warning for players to keep their computer secured to avoid any infiltration.
"We recommend that players protect themselves against this sort of attack by practicing good computer security. Players should keep their operating system updated, use reliable antivirus software, and only install software from reputable sources," per PokerStars.
Researchers at ESET suggest that hackers can get a screenshot of infected poker players, which does not only reveal the hands but also the user ID. The user ID can be used by hackers to easily connect to the table in which the infected player is playing. ESET researchers are not sure if the hack is automated or conducted manually.
ESET believes that there are several versions of the malware and some new ones can also steal user data. Till now only players located in Eastern Europe are believed to be infected by Odlanor but online poker players throughout the world are at risk of being infected.
Photo: Raffaele Sergi | Flickr