recommended reading

Threatwatch

“Sharking” attack hacks a poker star’s laptop to gain the upper hand

Cyber espionage; Spear-phishing; Unauthorized use of system administrator privileges

Whereas phishing attempts cast a wide net, sharking attempts target specific gamblers. In one instance, real-world and online poker player Jens Kyllöne parked his Audi outside the Helsinki headquarters of cyber research firm F-Secure and confirmed a hunch that his computer had been bugged during a tournament.

While staying at a five-star hotel hosting the European Poker Tour last September, he returned to his room to find the laptop was gone. Kyllöne figured a friend had borrowed it, went to check and when he got back, the laptop had reappeared.

When the laptop failed to boot properly, Kyllöne took it in for a forensic investigation.

“Laptop security is paramount for professional poker players, especially those who play online,” F-Secure researchers said. And especially those who rake in $2.5 million a year. By installing malicious software that can remotely control a target’s computer, a hacker can see “that the infected machine or the victim is holding a pair of queens. This gives the attacker an edge, so he knows to hold out for a better hand,” the researchers explained.

The evil code in Kyllöne’s case, a Remote Access Trojan, had timestamps coinciding with the period when the laptop had disappeared. Apparently, the attacker installed the trojan on a thumb drive and configured it to automatically start during every reboot.

After this discovery, F-Secure started looking for other victims. And, yep, another professional player, Henri Jaakkola, who stayed in the same room as Jens at the Barcelona event, had the exact same trojan lurking in his laptop.

“The phenomenon is now big enough that we think it warrants its own name: Sharking. Sharking attacks are targeted attacks against professional poker players (a.k.a. poker sharks). It's similar to Whaling attacks which are targeted at high profile business managers,” the researchers said.

ThreatWatch is a regularly updated catalog of data breaches successfully striking every sector of the globe, as reported by journalists, researchers and the victims themselves. 

sector

Entertainment

reported

December 10, 2013

reported by

F-Secure

number affected

Unknown

location of breach

Barcelona, Spain

perpetrators

Criminals

location of perpetrators

Barcelona, Spain

date breach occurred

Unknown

date breach detected

Unknown

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Modernizing IT for Mission Success

    Surveying Federal and Defense Leaders on Priorities and Challenges at the Tactical Edge

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • Effective Ransomware Response

    This whitepaper provides an overview and understanding of ransomware and how to successfully combat it.

    Download
  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.