New security scare hits online card gamers where it hurts

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Malware and virus makers tend to be going after your wallet, and if you’re an online gamer with aspirations at winning on the poker tournaments and you don’t have internet security, the cybercriminals might just be the real winners.

Security company ESET has piqued our attention recently with a new form of malware that is doing the rounds, and if you have a Windows PC, no internet security, and play online card games, this security exploit is made just for you.

It’s a piece of malware called “Odlanor”, which doesn’t mean much until you see what it does.

This nasty little bit of code will — when installed — take screenshots of your poker hand while you’re playing on various online gaming sites, and then send them to someone you’re playing against, effectively taking your ability to bluff well and truly out of the equation, and giving your opponent the upper hand.

We’re told the two biggest online poker sites are what this piece of malware targets, so if you’re a gamer on either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker and you don’t believe in keeping internet security up to date, you are definitely at risk.

ESET Security Researcher Sieng Chye told GadgetGuy that this piece of malware is loaded into applications coming from less than official websites, with this sort of payload often accidentally downloaded by people thinking that software they’re getting online is legit when it might be far from it.

For online poker players, it can even come from other poker applications, with Chye citing Tournament Shark, Poker Calculator Pro, Poker Office, and others at risk.

It might not look like much, but this bit of code inside the exploit targets which service you're using.
It might not look like much, but this bit of code inside the exploit targets which service you’re using.

Once infected, this exploit checks to see if either PokerStars or Full Tilt Poker is running, and then without telling you, it tells the exploit’s operator where you’re playing, with this person joining your table. After this and as you’re playing, screenshots of your poker hand will be sent to that person, giving them the upper hand, so to speak.

“We have seen this trojan masquerading as a number of benign installers for various general purpose programs, such as Daemon Tools or uTorrent,” said Robert Lipovsky, another of ESET’s Security Researchers.

“In other cases, the spyware is installed through various poker-related programs,” he added, which is definitely the case for this one.

ESET’s Chye did tell GadgetGuy that only Windows users have to be worried about this one, and only Windows users that play online poker and don’t have internet security.

If you’re at all concerned, Chye said that “security software, the proper configuration and regular updates will stop you getting the trojan in the first place”, and once you have it, well, security software is your only way out, and your way back in to trying to win at the online tables again.