In a betting scam seemingly pulled from a movie, a high-stakes gambler and a hacker accomplice reportedly absconded with $33 million in card game winnings after remotely accessing an Australian casino's security camera system. Using the high-definition cameras to monitor cards in a VIP gambling room, the team relayed signals to a foreign high roller, who was later banned from the facility.
Melbourne's Crown Casino operates a VIP gambling room where clients can play for large sums of money. The gambler involved in the scheme was a known "whale" – someone who wins and loses large sums. He played eight hands of cards and successfully made off with the money before he was apprehended by casino staff, who came to the room where he was staying with his family and kicked him out in the middle of the night. According to Australia's Herald Sun, he has reportedly returned to his home country after being prohibited from returning to the casino.
Hackers took advantage of the facility's high-definition security camera system, which were sharp enough to allow them to monitor cards. Authorities speculated the attackers may have been given unauthorized access by an insider, the Herald Sun reported, but it is also possible that the system was hacked. Many types of security cameras were recently exposed as having a major remote execution flaw or several potential Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) vulnerabilities that would allow signals to be intercepted.
"It's very easy to intercept a signal from many casinos that don't take precautions," gambling security expert Barron Stringfellow told ABC Melbourne.
To prevent flashy heists or more pedestrian but equally costly errors, manufacturers of security equipment can strengthen their devices with better software security in the coding process. By using tools such as static analysis, developers can catch potential vulnerabilities and mitigate the risk of their equipment playing a role in an "Ocean's Eleven"-style crime.
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