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Crime The Almighty Buck Technology

CCTV Hack Takes Casino For $33 Million 308

Posted by samzenpus
from the ocean's-down-under dept.
iComp writes "A sophisticated scheme to use a casino's own security systems against it has netted scammers $33 million in a high-stakes poker game after they were able to gain a crucial advantage by seeing the opposition's cards. The team used a high-rolling accomplice from overseas who was known to spend large amounts while gambling at Australia's biggest casino, the Crown in Melbourne, according to the Herald Sun. He and his family checked into the Crown and were accommodated in one of its $30,000-a-night villas. The player then joined a private high-stakes poker game in a private suite. At the same time, an unnamed person got access to the casino's CCTV systems in the poker room and fed the information he gleaned back to the player via a wireless link. Over the course of eight hands the team fleeced the opposition to the tune of $33 million."
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CCTV Hack Takes Casino For $33 Million

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  • Headline is wrong. (Score:5, Informative)

    by larry bagina (561269) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:16PM (#43198107) Journal
    It was a private poker game in a private suite. The casino didn't lose $33 million, the other players lost $33 million. The casino made money (they take a cut from every game).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      > It was a private poker game in a private suite. The casino didn't lose $33 million, the other players lost $33 million. The casino made money (they take a cut from
      > every game).

      This is so true. I would also add that the Casino might lose $33 million in lawsuits.

    • by chrismcb (983081)

      The casino made money (they take a cut from every game).

      No. The casino made money from renting the suit, and also made money for renting out the use of the dealer. They did not take a cut from every game

    • by Badge 17 (613974)

      Actually, it could be correct, but there isn't enough information to tell. The Register article claims that the game was poker, but that isn't supported by the original Herald Sun article, which just says "hands of cards." Note how completely devoid of details the Herald Sun article is - they won't say much about the details, the technique, or even what game was being played. This might be because it would identify the players involved.

  • Er, what? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by frootcakeuk (638517) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:27PM (#43198163)
    " got access to the casino's CCTV systems in the poker room and fed the information he gleaned back to the player via a wireless link" Who's to say the casinos don't do this themselves on a daily basis? The fact that this was possible at all makes me question the frequency of such an 'exploit', and not only that, the fact that the opposing players cards were 'readable by security camera' is something that should worry pretty much everyone
    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      Please name a casino game played against the house in which seeing the players cards can change anything for the house.

      I'm pretty sure there isn't one, because having such a thing would only serve as a way for the casino to lose huge amounts of money.

      • Any game where one of the players brothers works for casino security?

      • I dunno, I could never win any money at cards in any casino in GTA San Andreas. Pretty sure the PS2 was cheating and looking at my cards. Jokes on it though: I was using cheat codes to get $25,000 dollars any time I wanted. I was like Neo in the Matrix, except instead of kung fu it was bullets and instead of a global AI computer it was a Sony.
    • Re:Er, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by citizenr (871508) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:21PM (#43198459) Homepage

      Exactly. Story about CCTV is bullshit, they would need HD cameras pointed a players back at specific angle to even make the cards out.
      This leads me to believe Casino security got compromised to the point of someone planting cameras in the room beforehand, maybe even Casino employees being on the scam.

      • Re:Er, what? (Score:5, Interesting)

        by GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) <almafuerte@gm[ ].com ['ail' in gap]> on Sunday March 17, 2013 @06:43PM (#43199187)

        No need for HD cameras. It's all about optics. A PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) with 32x optical zoom can easily read a card at a distance of 50m.

        • by citizenr (871508)

          Good point, I totally forgot casinos use CCTV to look for cheats, not for post facto crime documentation.

          • In a good setup, you do both. Best setup is cheap cameras everywhere, as many as you can get, to cover every spot imaginable (just regular analog cameras with 1/4'' CCD or even CMOS recording at 320x240). Then some better cameras for more important spots (1/3'' CCD recording at 720x576), and finally some good IP Cameras recording at least at 720p in a few important spots, mostly for face recog. With this, you've got everything covered. You then use PTZ domes as backup and for real-time surveillance. When th

      • by cusco (717999)
        I take it you've never used an actual professional-grade PTZ (pan/tilt/zoom) security camera. There are plenty of models that would allow you to read the turned-up corner on a card from 50+ meters away, and really expensive ones that could double that.
  • by Bearhouse (1034238) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:28PM (#43198181)

    33 mil in eight hands? Wow...more than 4 mil per hand?

    I must assume that at least some of the people around the table will have faster and more extreme ways to recover their cash and/or pride than regular law enforcement. Plus the dude was dumb enough to check in with his family?

    Hope they live long enough to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. Mind you, one could argue that taking 33 mil from people who are clearly prepared to gamble it away is less immoral than mugging a tramp...

  • by anarchy_man3 (768249) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:39PM (#43198239) Homepage
    I think the real story here is that a handful of people had $33 Million to blow on a card game while others are dying on the street, and there wasn't a pitch fork and torch wielding rebellion.
    • by JaredOfEuropa (526365) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:49PM (#43198303) Journal
      This may come as a surprise, but plenty of people (even those in lower income brackets) prefer to not have the government set wages and redistribute income to a great extent... even if it means that some other fellow might be making way more than themselves.
      • by whoever57 (658626) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @05:27PM (#43198777) Journal

        This may come as a surprise, but plenty of people (even those in lower income brackets) prefer to not have the government set wages and redistribute income to a great extent... even if it means that some other fellow might be making way more than themselves.

        I am sure that you are right, but I suspect that the same people who would not support redistribution only do so because they don't understand how large numbers of wealthy benefit from the way thet they and other wealthy people have stacked the decks in their favor.

        The bank bailout, for example, effected a massive redistribution of wealth towards wealthy bankers. It's ongoing, with large banks benefitting from very low cost loans from the Fed, which they use to buy government bonds, which return a higher interest rate.

        • by Rockoon (1252108)

          I am sure that you are right, but I suspect that the same people who would not support redistribution only do so because they don't understand how large numbers of wealthy benefit from the way thet they and other wealthy people have stacked the decks in their favor.

          ..and they did that through the government.

          So your solution is for even more government involvement? Yeah... you are the real problem.

          • by whoever57 (658626)
            And your solution is what? Less government. Yeah, that's working well in Somalia and other failed states.

            Actually, it's crazy that we are even talking about redistribution. We should be talking about leveling the playing field -- taking away the redistribution that is already going on -- and benefitting the already wealthy.
          • by tehcyder (746570)
            "The government" is just another name for "the democratic will of the people" whatever libertarians may like to believe. Without government, the wealthy would be in total command of society.

            It's deluded people like you who are the problem. The government/law that stops me and my friends from stealing your car, house and so on is the same one that prevents you from murdering slaves in factories because society has agreed how we would like things to be organised.

        • I am in the class you speak of and I firmly believe in non redistribution. That includes up and it also includes down. as long as those in power have the power to distribute downwards they will also be able to bend those exact same rules to distribute upwards at a faster pace. Taxing the rich actually always end up texting the middle class instead of the rich. The rich just find ways of hiding their income in non taxable returns wow the middle class gets stung by the taxes as inflation changes the true e

    • by nedlohs (1335013)

      That's hardly news.

  • by k.a.f. (168896) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:41PM (#43198245)
    Security cameras in casinos are able to resolve the cards that poker players hold in their hands? That sounds like an incredibly obvious attack vector - I'm surprised this hasn't happened previously. (Of course, casino management isn't exactly known for transparency, so probably it has.)
    • by PPH (736903)

      Are we certain that the casino doesn't fix some games? And what they are pissed about is that someone figured out their system and used it for their own gain.

    • Re:Wait, what? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by whois (27479) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:26PM (#43198491) Homepage

      I haven't read the article so I'm not sure of the details, but you generally don't need to be able to read all the cards. Lots of cards are distinguishable from each other. An 8 for instance looks nothing like an Ace. A face card can easily be distinguished from a regular card. You could tell if the card was black or red even if you couldn't see the suite.

      With Texas holdem and other community card games, it's easier to see the important details. Does he have a pair? Does he have a flush? A straight? An Ace or a face card? You could at least have some confidence of what they don't have.

  • by Black Parrot (19622) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @03:52PM (#43198317)

    Sometimes you're gambling on whether the game is rigged.

    But they probably got enough free callgirl visits to ease the pain a bit.

    • by fermion (181285)
      In gambling the game is always rigged. The house is always going to win. In poker what you are gambling is your strategies and skill are better than the opponents.

      Strategy [nytimes.com], though is frowned upon in most cases. This, however, goes a bit beyond typical strategy. It does, to me, justify the assertion that poker is not gambling. I think it is crap, but if you can rig the game so you win, by whatever means, then it no longer gambling.

      • by terjeber (856226)

        The house is always going to win. In poker what you are gambling is your strategies and skill are better than the opponents. Strategy [nytimes.com], though is frowned upon in most cases

        What is frowned upon? That your strategy is better than the opponents? Not so, it is the only way there is poker. You can't, without cheating, get an edge on your opponent in poker in any other way than skill. Poker isn't, and never was, gambling. It is purely a game of skill.

  • by trout007 (975317) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @04:20PM (#43198455)

    Protect your cards.

  • Assuming the casino had a basic firewall for outside of the hotel access, I am thinking the accomplice may have been in a room in the hotel. If that were the case... How could they not have a separate firewall to protect the CCTV feeds? It would seem to me the CCTV should have stand-alone servers and a stand-alone firewall. That being said, I would like to meet the intruder. I have a business proposition for him :-)
  • by Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) on Sunday March 17, 2013 @05:14PM (#43198719)

    I am surprised that no one has commented on the fact that this is another case of a backdoor that was intended for the use of whitehats being commandeered by blackhats. When you build backdoors into systems you weaken security.

    Another, really amazing story along those lines is the cell-phone wire-tapping of greece [ieee.org] during the months before the last olympics games in athens. The system was designed with a wire-tapping backdoor, greece didn't even purchase that feature when they bought the switches, but the blackhats were able to turn it on and listen in to the phone calls of the mayor of athens and the prime minister of greece.

    • by FooRat (182725)

      When you build backdoors into systems you weaken security.

      Are you really honestly claiming that, based on this one rare and isolated incident, that casinos all do good to improve their overall security by getting rid of their cameras? I suggest you think about what you're saying again.

      This is like those morons who think you shouldn't wear seatbelts because in 1 in 10,000 accidents they hurt you instead of help save you.

      • "Are you really honestly claiming that, based on this one rare and isolated incident, that casinos all do good to improve their overall security by getting rid of their cameras?"

        No, but the "security tools" they apply should also be considered as sources of risk in the overall risk management equation. Too often security products get a pass because, well, they're security products.

        The witty worm is another favorite example of this position of privilege turned against you.

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      Was it a backdoor hack? Or just some employee with regular access to the system abusing his privileges?

    • I am surprised that no one has commented on the fact that this is another case of a backdoor that was intended for the use of whitehats being commandeered by blackhats.

      They're too busy dancing and singing over the fact that "some rich guys" (who deserved it anyhow) "got fleeced". Security implications be dammed.

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