European poker stars have gotten a unique perspective on cybertheft. It began when European Poker Tour player Jen Kyllönen became suspicious that he was the victim of a cybercrime. It developed that both Kyllonen and fellow tour member Henri Jaakkola were victims.
It began when Kyllonen discovered his laptop missing from his hotel room. After a frantic search, the device was mysteriously returned. It turns out this seemingly good deed had a twist: Kyllonen’s laptop had been infected with a trojan. Trojans are viruses that allow outside access to a person’s computer, allowing others to view the laptop screen and track all activities on the computer.
Cyber-security specialists at F Secure in Helsinki Finland confirmed the malicious attack. According to F Secure experts, the stolen computers had Remote Access Trojan installed, which would reveal the poker players’ cards whenever they played online.
In Kyllonen’s case, the thieves were especially persistent. After their first attempt to load the trojan failed, the computer vanished again, and apparently reinstalled. In fact, it was the continued laptop vanishing acts that fired Kyllonen’s suspicions.
Kyllonen was staying at a hotel during the Barcelona poker tour event when the theft and return occurred. Kyllonen returned to his room to find his laptop missing. This was of great concern to him, since he both uses the laptop to play online and to store his playing records. After a thorough search Kyllonen left his room to see if anyone had borrowed the laptop. When he returned, the computer was back in his room.
The first trojan attempt apparently failed, however, as Kyllonen could not boot the computer. While he was reporting this to hotel staff, the computer disappeared again. And once more, it was returned. This time, it seemed to function normally, but Kyllonen was convinced this was more than a prank, and sought help from security specialists.
Given the large dollar amounts that most professional players wager, it seems possible that the thieves could have massive sums if their plans had worked. As it is, poker players now need to be more on guard than ever, in order to protect their laptops and their bankrolls.