A new form of computer spyware affecting online poker players has been detected by security company ESET.
Like any other computer trojan, this sneaky malware - Win32/Spy.Odlanor - can be unintentionally installed on a computer when the victim downloads an infected app or other piece of online software. It was first found lurking in a piece of software designed to help poker enthusiasts to play better. It has assumed the appearance of a benign installer for various general-purpose programs, including Daemon Tools or mTorrent.
"We have seen this trojan masquerading as a number of benign installers for various general purpose programs, such as Daemon Tools or uTorrent. In other cases, the spyware is installed through various poker-related programs," said Robert Lipovsky, a senior malware researcher at ESET.
ESET said the spyware has been active for several months, and that hundreds of users have already been infected by the malware. Most of the victims that have been infected so far are in Eastern Europe, particularly in Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan.
The attackers are using this malicious spyware to give them a chance to peek at the poker player's virtual hand on popular gambling sites. Screenshots of the victim's computer screen are then taken and sent to the remote attacker's computer. Because the attacker can see the victim's cards, the attacker has an unfair advantage and is much more likely to win each game.
At this point, the researchers are not clear whether the attackers are manually playing the games or are using technology to play the games automatically.
In any case, this problem should be dealt with soon. Otherwise, how are the poker players going to take home WSOP bracelets?