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Pseudo randomness hacking of old slot machines by Russian scammers

Pseudo randomness hacking of old slot machines by Russian scammers

In 2014, the number of casino employees located in the Americas, have uncovered a massive fraud of criminals for winning money from slot machines. The fraudsters were Russian hackers. A serious investigation was carried out. However, not all the criminals were caught. Some of them still travel through South America in search of the old slot machines …

Pseudo randomness hacking by Russian scammers with old slot machines

Abnormal luck

This story began with the fact that in the summer of 2014 the casino employee of Lumiere Place in St. Louis suspected that some of the slot machines developed dementia. Approved software, which until now fairly gave the owners of slots 7.129 cents per customer dollar, began to work in favour of the players!

However, the security service did not believe in the crazy machines and began to analyse the video for the presence of intruders carefully. One of the alleged offenders was found. The man played only the old slot machines from the company Aristocrat Leisure.

First, the client was just playing but shot his gameplay on a smartphone. Then the man left, and after a while sat down again at the same slot. And he began to grab money almost with a shovel – for every 20-50 bucks, he received more than a thousand! The “lucky” gambler earned $ 21K in 2 days, reported Wired.

The casino staff noticed that the player did not just press the Spin button but waited for the signal from his smartphone. All considerations of security institutions were sent to the commission on gambling. And the story began to spin on the rise. Such “lucky” players were found in other casinos. All of them acted with the same machines and the same scheme.

About PRNG

The way the gang was caught and what happened to its members are not so interesting. But what’s really interesting, is how the scammers made machines to give them money.

As it turned out, the unwitting inspirer of scammers was the Russian crackdown on gambling in 2009. Then many casino owners began to sell gaming equipment at a low price in a hurry to close business, as it became illegal. Well-versed in electronics young people used the chance and studied these slot machines. They wanted to understand whether the combination of pictures on the screen of slots falls accidentally. And they understood!

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At the beginning of 2011, Novomatic’s slot machines began to turn inside out, giving away even the last coin. The developers of the company came to the conclusion: “As a result of long-term observations of the sequences in the game a certain pattern can be expected to be calculated.”

That is, in the old slots with a pseudorandom number generator (PRNG) we cannot speak about any accident. In fact, these machines use only a “pseudo” randomness. PRNG uses something specific: time, number and the like inside the slot. Hackers, using the program, managed to find this individual point with the help of the video with dozens of the appeared combinations, and a few minutes later they were able to give instructions on the use of a particular machine.

After trying their luck in 2011 in Europe, swindlers have scattered around the world in search of the certain old slots. It was only in 2104 when a smart fellow at Lumiere Place became suspicious! But according to the case materials, only one gang of 4 members raised a quarter of a million dollars in a few casinos for a week. And all this is because of the randomness of the slot’s generator.

Until now, most casinos use the old model of “one-armed bandits” with the PRNG. Their owners prefer to give instructions to the guards so that they forbid players to shoot what is happening on the screen. But you can put your smartphone in the pocket of sheer fabric …

What is the future?

The economic reality of the gaming industry is so that the organisation of St. Petersburg is guaranteed to flourish further. There is no easy way to fix slot machines. As it was said to producers of Aristocrat, Novomatic, and everyone else whose slots undergone cracking, it is necessary “to withdraw all machines and replace them with something else, but they will not do this, as it is cheaper to leave everything as it is than to change the slot machines.”

Therefore, the only way-out for the security services of the casino is to monitor indirect signs of the fraud. A finger too long hovering over the button Spin, may be the only sign that hackers from St. Petersburg are preparing for the next win.

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