Researchers find vulnerabilities in online poker applications

Software from several companies could be manipulated by attackers to take over players' accounts

A review of poker applications shows that many suffer security flaws, putting players at risk of attack, according to a Malta-based security company.

Luigi Auriemma and Donato Ferrante of ReVuln, which is a consultancy that does vulnerability research, focused their analysis on poker clients downloaded by players in order to game.

The software clients interact with so-called "skins," or online poker rooms run on gaming companies' websites. "A vulnerability in one software can affect multiple skins and millions of players," they wrote.

Online poker differs from other types of online gambling since players must download the software client, which improves players' experiences and provides real-time data over customized protocols.

"From an external attacker's point of view, client software is interesting to analyze because it is the only part of the infrastructure which is fully available to an attacker," Auriemma and Ferrante wrote.

Most of the online poker clients include a software update feature that is the first action performed when the applications are started. But the researchers found updates delivered without using Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) encryption or digital signatures. Even if an update is signed, they found it was still possible in some cases to take over control of a person's computer.

Gaming software usually just requires a username and password to access an account, although some companies have moved to using two-factor authentication. The gaming company PokerStars does use RSA tokens and a PIN to increase security in its software clients, the researchers noted.

But other software programs allow gamers to save the password on their computer, although the way in which that is done may not prevent it from being leaked, they wrote.

An analysis of poker software developed by the company B3W Group in Malta found that it updates the software over an insecure HTTP connection. The updates are stored without digital signatures, and ".exe" files are not verified before they are installed, they wrote. The player's password is also very simply obfuscated and can be obtained.

Software made by Microgaming, based on the Isle of Man, which is used in poker skins run by gaming companies including Unibet and Ladbrokes Poker, is vulnerable to a buffer overflow attack, Auriemma and Ferrante wrote.

Playtech, which supplies poker software used by Titan Poker, William Hill Poker and Bet365 Poker, does verify the digital signatures for dynamic link libraries and executable files, they wrote. But all of the other files it installs can be modified, which could allow an attacker to redirect a player to a malicious website. The software companies could not be immediately reached for comment.

Send news tips and comments to jeremy_kirk@idg.com. Follow me on Twitter: @jeremy_kirk

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Jeremy Kirk

IDG News Service
Topics: Internet-based applications and services, security, ReVuln, internet, Exploits / vulnerabilities, malware
Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?