Malware can help you win at poker

Graham Cluley
Graham Cluley
@[email protected]

Poker Feel like the chips are down, and the decks are stacked against you? You will do if the computer you are playing poker on is infected with malware.

Security researchers at ESET have revealed details of the Odlanor spyware, which can help hackers cheat at online poker.

So, what you’re probably dying to find out is – how does malware help you win at poker.

The first step, of course, is that you’re going to need to infect the computers of other online poker players who you want to beat.

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One way to do that would be to infect software that computer users (whether poker players or not) might download. That’s fairly easy – breaking into the websites of legitimate software vendors may be a challenge, so it’s easier to offer links to boobytrapped installers for a utility, or to upload an infected file to a peer-to-peer file-sharing service.

Alternatively, if you wished to target poker players a little more directly, you could distribute an infected copy of one of the many poker player databases or calculators that gambling fans like to use.

ESET explains that once in place, the Odlanor malware targets people who play Poker on the PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker websites, taking screenshots of players’ open game windows – which, of course, includes details of the cards in their hand and their user id – and sends it back to the online cheat.

Malware code

Of course, this isn’t just a problem if you don’t want to lose at online poker – there is also a danger that your computer and its data may be compromised in other ways.

After all, now a hacker has managed to infect your computer – do you think they are going to be happy just playing online poker?

Don’t gamble with your computer security – keep your anti-virus and security patches up-to-date, and exercise caution about what software you install on your PC.

Graham Cluley is an award-winning keynote speaker who has given presentations around the world about cybersecurity, hackers, and online privacy. A veteran of the computer security industry since the early 1990s, he wrote the first ever version of Dr Solomon's Anti-Virus Toolkit for Windows, makes regular media appearances, and is the co-host of the popular "Smashing Security" podcast. Follow him on Twitter, Mastodon, Threads, Bluesky, or drop him an email.

One comment on “Malware can help you win at poker”

  1. coyote

    Great puns.

    The funny thing is I've had similar thoughts (but didn't even look into it due to the illegalities of it[1]) but for auctions and limited edition sales only in the sense of manipulating the vendor's server.

    But as for games, I feel if you cheat you didn't beat and if you didn't beat then what have you truly accomplished? You certainly haven't played the game well so there isn't much to be proud of (plus you take the chance out of a better player/athlete).

    [1] Ironically, it took until I first put it to actual words, but if their system clock was changed it would have far more serious problems, and I wouldn't be able to order anything at all anyway (or have a very slim chance). Auctions would have similar problems and in all cases it would trigger warning signs to the sellers (and would only 'work' under the assumption that the product is already in the system but not yet visible). This means that these thoughts of mine actually come from far more selfishness than I would have liked to believe (although I'm admittedly not all that surprised…).

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