Mobile phone and tech support at the other end of the earth is all that is needed to win round sums from a casino. Such a simple way was invented by a group of hackers from St. Petersburg and, despite the fact that their fraud was exposed, it gained followers all over the world.
In June 2014, employees of the Lumiere Place casino in St. Louis discovered that several slot machines in their establishment were out of order: in two days they gave out much more money than they received, while no one broke the jackpots these days. Convinced of the serviceability of the software, the casino realized: someone cheated.
Studying the recordings from surveillance cameras, the guards noticed a black-haired man in a polo shirt with a brown rectangular purse. He did not do anything illegal, but he behaved somewhat strangely: he kept the phone at the screen of the machine, after which he left the slot machine for several minutes. Returning, the man raised his finger over the “Rotate” button, waited a few seconds – and won, turning $ 20-60 into $ 1,300 at one time. In two days, his winnings amounted to more than $ 20,000.
A few days later it turned out that several more casinos in Missouri were deceived in this way. All the cases were united by one detail: shortly before the win, the player kept a mobile phone at the screen of the slot machine.
Soon, law enforcement officers found out that the black-haired man from Lumiere Place is a 37-year-old Russian citizen Murat Bliyev. After winning, he flew back to his homeland, but the St. Petersburg company for which he worked sent him back to the States. And it became her big mistake.
The man did not do anything illegal, but he behaved somewhat strangely: he kept the phone at the screen of the machine gun all the time.
Russia became a hotbed of gambling-related crimes in 2009, when gambling was practically banned in the country. The casino owners started selling their machines for a penny, which the fraudsters, who always dreamed of exploring the devices from the inside, could not help but take advantage of. Having gained access to the insides of slot machines, hackers have learned how to crack key algorithms that hold the whole gambling business. And the scam at Lumiere Place is a clear confirmation of this.
As it turned out as a result of the investigation, Murat Blyev and other operatives of the St. Petersburg company kept the phone at the slot, because they recorded the rotation of the drum on the camera and sent video recordings to technical support in St. Petersburg. There, the data were analyzed and transmitted to the operative’s smartphone time indicators, which made the phone vibrate a quarter of a second before it was necessary to click on “Rotate”. This tricky combination helped win up to $ 10 thousand per day. A team of four people could earn up to $ 250 thousand a week.
Since there were no guns in Murat Bliyev’s home country, he did not stay after returning from St. Louis in Russia. Murat flew to the United States twice more. During his second visit in December 2014, he and three accomplices were detained and accused of fraud. Three Russians were sentenced to two years in prison, the fourth agreed to cooperate with law enforcement agencies. This has become a serious obstacle to the work of the St. Petersburg organization.
This tricky combination helped win up to $ 10 thousand per day. A team of four people could earn up to $ 250 thousand a week.
Despite the unsuccessful last experience, the group got followers. They improved the system and continue to earn in the casino. The owners of institutions can not prevent such fraudulent schemes – for this they will have to buy machines with a new algorithm for issuing pseudo-random numbers. The equipment will have to be checked for compliance with strict technical standards, and the casino holders are not ready to go for it. And while the old, hacked, automata is still popular with customers, the casino will be more profitable to work with them further, taking periodic losses in favor of fraudsters.
Casino security services need only to monitor the indirect signs of fraud. The phone at the screen of the machine or the finger, which has been hanging over the button for a long time, can be the only signs that hackers from St. Petersburg are preparing for the next win.