Poker Mental Game & Planning

Protect Against Malware and Hackers - Keep Your Poker Account Safe

4,587 Views 1 Comment on 4/9/15

With your bankroll at risk, learn how to protect against malware, and viruses to keep your online assets safe.

Article image
Hackers right now are in the media everywhere Be it people that go past ATM machines and money just flies out, (I’m sure you’ve heard of them) or bot nets being controlled by one single man to take down entire servers or networks by a simple DDoS attack, or just people trying to get your Facebook account password, they’re everywhere!

bookHow many times have you got that e-mail from the Nigerian prince that has inherited a big fortune and he wants to split it with you because you’ve “helped him” a lot, but until the 1st of November he can’t get it so he is relying on you to send him 1000$ to get through these tough times? How many people have told you before the year 2000 of the Y2K bug and what was thought to be the end of modern computing?

Have you heard of the new viruses that just implement themselves into your computer by plugging in a USB stick and … if the stick is infected with the respective virus, it infects your computer? I had that, and it wasn’t pretty at all. It started turning all my files into shortcuts and hiding them somewhere else, luckily I managed to recuperate them, but others might have unknowingly not.

So I am writing this because it’s not the first time I’ve heard of a poker hacked account, and it won’t be the last time, so you want to protect yourself against these occurring problems at all costs. Let’s see what you can do to obtain virtual immunity.

Set up a good firewall

Windows Firewall will get you so far as to block some programs, but it hasn’t been that effective over time, and sys-admins will tell you so. I recommend that you try to install a decent Firewall first of all, and only allow programs in and out that you trust, be very attentive with the files that you receive and never trust an “Internet friend”.

moneybagKeep your laptop safe at all costs and don’t let people that come into your place that you don’t trust, have a look at your PC/play with it or use USB sticks on it. Because of the necessity to install drivers for USB sticks and the hackers discovering loopholes around this to install viruses onto your PC, computers have become a lot more vulnerable these past years.

I do not recommend usage of USB sticks, if you need to transfer something just use e-mail, Dropbox, Google Drive or WeTransfer.com for big files. Also, never get .EXE files from virtual friends because even if it’s just a poker client for example or an innocent little game, it could be cross-linked with the client of a Trojan horse (exactly what I’m talking about - a virus that doesn’t present itself as a virus but in the background it’s silently installing itself).
Installing a good firewall first is imperative because if first we clean the computer with the antivirus and then we put in the firewall, we might get viruses the same way as we got them in the first place by not securing our connections first, and while we are unsuspectingly playing poker, another user is looking into our computer from afar.

Recommended FREE firewalls:

  • ZoneAlarm Firewall
  • Comodo Firewall
  • PeerBlock
  • Privatefirewall
  • Anti NetCut 3
The best one by far is ZoneAlarm, but if you can’t get your head around the interface, just use another one. Next you already know what we’re going to do!

Get good antivirus software, update it and start scanning!

cardsThis is the next logical step in the equation. Once we’ve sealed all the intruders, time to extinguish them one by one! Antivirus software not only detects viruses on your computer by searching for them when you scan, it also checks all the files and applications that you’re using live before you execute them, scans them for viruses and, in case one shows up, blocks the application from starting and notifies you of his existence, and either quarantines the infected file, or, if possible, cleans it up. Also, it’s imperative to update the antivirus software to the latest definitions, so that it can recognize viruses that appeared, let’s say, 2 hours ago.

Most antivirus software is paid, but you can find excellent ones that are free, or you can just take a free trial and test them out, and if you feel like they’re doing a good job, you can support the developing team and buy them.

Best FREE antivirus software

  • BitDefender Antivirus (World nr. 1)
  • AVG Antivirus
  • Avast Antivirus
  • Malwarebytes Anti-Exploit FREE
  • Panda Free Antivirus
  • Ad-Aware Free Antivirus
Of these, the first two are the most reliable and are what I usually use when I install Windows, after I get the firewall running.
NEVER and surely NEVER install two types of antivirus software, because it isn’t going to do better, it’s just going to get the computer running slower and slower, and you WILL feel  the difference in performance. One of them is completely enough.

The best paid antiviruses

  • Webroot SecureAnywhere Antivirus
  • BitDefender Antivirus Plus
  • Kaspersky Anti-Virus -> one of the best in my opinion
  • F-Secure Antivirus -> really good
  • McAfee AntiVirus Plus -> also excellent

pokervipbdageNext up is a step that most people don’t think is necessary, but I’m going to tell you it most definitely is. Take for example my last Windows install. I had a lot of trouble with performance, some applications weren’t functioning like before and it was all just going in a downwards slope. I felt like my computer wasn’t good anymore, although I just bought it less than one year ago? How can this be possible ?

Well, think again. I had installed a software that contained a Bitcoin mining virus, that when you kept the computer in idle state, it was itself in idle state, but when you ran memory and calculation intensive applications, it went haywire and it was taking 100% of my computing power, leaving no room for multitasking, really. This was not detected by the anti-virus because it was another type malware and not a virus.

The difference between these two is that basically malware is a code that infects your computer and has malicious purposes, while viruses are a certain type of malware. As you see, antivirus software detects only viruses, and some other types of malware, but not all of them. Obviously the Bitcoin mining hidden software was not included in that package, as my antivirus did not return any problem.

So following this pattern, next up, we need to install.

Anti-malware software

Yep. This takes care of all the malware that’s not taken care by the antivirus. This software is usually very specific and scans the most hidden places of your PC like registry, MBR (Master Boot Record), tasks, Host file etc., also web browsers.

Although there are many anti-malware programs, the only one that found my bitcoin problem was Rogue Killer. This software managed to find my Bitcoin hidden software and remove it within minutes, as I was searching with tens of others and never found a clue. It’s easy to use, you can download it here, totally free and very efficient.

Among other anti-malware FREE applications, I recommend.
  • Spybot Search and Destroy
  • ComboFix
  • HijackThis
  • AdAware 11(also antivirus)
Another notable mention in the list (but not free) is Malwarebytes Anti-Malware. This software has been proven efficient over time in all tests and is worth getting if you enjoy your computer malware-free.

Most of these programs are really easy to use and you don’t really have to be a rocket scientist to keep your computer safe and sound, as long as you stick to this guide everything will be all right.

Other steps that you can do to prevent malware intrusion.

peopleKeep your Windows updated and secure. The operating system will never be perfect. None will ever be. It may contain exploits and security holes that make It quite easy for your PC to get infected. The good news is that when you buy Windows, you not only buy the current state of the software, but a whole team of programmers that are working day in day out to cover these holes as soon as someone (a member or the team or a malevolent hacker, for example) discovers them.

Use a secure browser like Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox. Internet Explorer is a no-no. Browser protection is very important, and try to ad an Ad-blocker, so it blocks random pop-ups and you don’t accidentally click on them. Be very aware of random windows appearing, ‘you have won 1 million dollars messages’ or files randomly downloading to your computer. Do not click links that your Facebook friends randomly send you, they might be under the influence of a virus that just sends “hahaha+link” and you’re under the influence that this is your friend and he’s sending you a funny link. Always ask him first: ‘Did you just send me a link?’.
Spam e-mails - Do not open an e-mail if it’s not part of your daily routine, subscribed websites or it just looks suspicious. Send it directly into the spam folder and let it be gone forever.

Do not, under any circumstances, give your passwords to anyone, even if they’re calling you and saying they’re Facebook Official Support or PokerStars and your account is closed for evaluation purposes etc. Support officials will never ask for passwords. They will ask for user name, e-mail, Secret Questions #1 and #2 maybe, and other details like your birthday. Don’t be fooled because the phone support hack has been going on for a long time, and you should stay cautious about it.

graphsUse a password manager - If, God forbid, you have a keylogger installed on your computer, using a password manager might save your tooshie, because you don’t actually type all your passwords, you just click them. That’s why all modern browsers have a password saving system implemented into them, not only for ease of use, but for security also.

Use Cable – Cable is a lot safer than using Wi-fi. Try to stay away from café wireless networks, as they are not that safe. I personally know an employee of a guy who had ~100.000 Bitcoins and he paid with his wallet in several cafes and when he got home he was cleaned out. Ultra-bummer.
Try to connect directly to your ISP through your router, not through a network. You could get ARP poisoned. The way this works is super simple to understand. The proxy has an ARP table that is basically a table of IP’s like Computer 1 and IP Computer 2 and IP.
Your computer has, essentially, the same table. Computer 2 attacks the ARP tables and changes the IP’s so that all the information now goes through his Computer and further to the proxy and backwards. This is called ARP poisoning and it’s a dangerous attack, the only way this can be surpassed is using only HTTPS that transmit encrypted data, and not HTTP. But a lot of sites nowadays have only HTTP(like p2p sites or smallish sites where you have accounts and the password there can be the same as the one on another site etc.).

peopleUse different passwords! - Do not use the same password for everything, because if you do, and someone finds out one password, he finds out ALL or them. Don’t let yourself wiped out.

Do NOT lend your laptop to anyone and keep it safe! - Do not leave it in your hotel room, especially if you are named Jens Kyllonen. You can google the hotel laptop poker scandal and read what type of software was installed on the users’ computers – many poker pros have experienced it.

Use DeepFreeze - This is a lot of work, but basically you use a cloud system like DropBox or Google Drive to save your poker hands/other files that you might need and every time you restart your computer, the slate is cleaned and the system is returned to its’ deep freeze state.

This takes a lot of work, but it’s worth it because there’s no way a virus will keep existing after you restart your computer. Basically you have the exact same computer every time you restart, that’s why you need to save your data on the cloud and basically re-import the hands every time into HM2. It’s not that much of a hassle, actually, if it gets into your routine.

I hope a lot of you read this and find it helpful. Please let me know what you think in the comments below and keep an eye out for suspicious things. Many have had their accounts hacked and I’m telling you, it’s no pleasant!
Follow

Author

PokerVIP Coaching

At PokerVIP we pride ourselves in recruiting top poker talent from around the World to help our users improve their game. With over 350 original training videos from over 30 renowned poker coaches, PokerVIP is one of the best resources in the World for learning not ... Read More

Comments

You need to be logged in to post a new comment

Kyyberi

Kyyberion 27/9/15

If you use Skrill, pay 10e and get secuit token. If you play at Stars, pay few $ and get the security token. With those no one can access your accounts even if they get your passwords.

Sign Up To Watch More

It only takes 1 minute to register and unlock access to unlimited poker videos.

OR

Take Part In This Promotion

Its easy, simply register with one of the rooms below and add your username to your PokerVIP account

Its easy, simply register with one of the rooms below and add your username to your PokerVIP account.
Add your "Room Name" username and register with PokerVIPEarn 250 VIP Points Instantly & 10 VIP Points for Every $1 in Rake.

"Room Name" Screename:

Register
Login

PokerVIP Credentials:

PokerVIP Credentials: