Online Poker Security Threat; Kobe’s Quest May Be Done; Lane Kiffin ?


Jens Kyllonen Situation Reveals Online Poker Security Threat

by Julio Rodriguez    


In September, high-stakes poker pro Jens Kyllonen told a disturbing story concerning the security of his laptop while staying at the Hotel Arts and playing in the EPT Barcelona main event.

According to the Finnish pro, he went back to his hotel room after being eliminated from the tournament to discover his laptop missing. After returning to the tournament floor to ask his roommate if he had it, he went back to his room only to see that his laptop had been returned.

Kyllonen was naturally suspicious and after a bungled investigation, he returned home to Helsinki and turned his laptop over to an F-Secure location.

The specialist in the lab confirmed Kyllonen’s suspicions, finding a trojan designed to allow a hacker to remotely view laptop activity. Of course, this is especially troubling for Kyllonen, who plays some of the highest stakes online. A hacker could easily use the program to see an opponent’s hole cards and subsequently win countless sums of money.

From the F-Secure lab:

“After a while, it was obvious that his hunch was correct, the laptop was indeed infected. There was a Remote Access Trojan (RAT) with timestamps coinciding with the time when the laptop had gone missing. Apparently, the attacker installed the trojan from a USB memory stick and configured it to automatically start at every reboot. A RAT, by the way, is a common tool that allows an attacker to control and monitor a laptop remotely, viewing anything that happens on the machine.”

“This kind of attack is very generic and works against any online poker site that we know of. The trojan is written in Java and uses obfuscation, but isn’t all that complicated. Since it’s in Java, the malware can run in any platform (Mac OS, Windows, Linux).”

Kyllonen contacted PokerStars directly after the incident and a company representative told him that they were doing everything to catch these criminals. Unfortunately, the case appears to have been mishandled and it does not appear that it will be resolved.

F-Secure has since named the trojan attack “sharking” because it targets high-stakes poker players, otherwise known as sharks. Kyllonen has earned $1.4 million in live tournaments and another $4 million in online cash games, according to, making him a prime target.

Kyllonen’s story has raised countless questions about poker player security at destination tournament stops. It is still unknown how the hackers gained access to his room and whether or not they had help from hotel staff. Kyllonen believes that the laptops of other poker players have been compromised as well.

In March, online pro Doug “WCGRider” Polk was the victim of a sharking attack that cost him $35,000.

Though high-profile poker players are the target, this type of attack can happen to anybody who plays for a significant amount of money. F-Secure recommends using a separate laptop for online poker, locking your keyboard while stepping away and putting the computer in a safe while traveling.


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Will Leitch

More from Will

A Record Out Of Reach

On the face of it, Kobe Bryant’s two-year, $48.5 million extension signed last month makes no sense. The Lakers aren’t even close to a championship team, and they’re not likely to be able to add any pieces to Kobe and the gang that will make the team much better. (Lakers fans’ dreams of signing LeBron James actually seem more desperate than the Knicks’ a couple of years ago. ) Everybody loves Kobe — well, almost everybody — but the contract appeared to strangle any possible hope of the Lakers winning a title in the last next half-decade.

But then again, that might not have been the point. Last week, Bill Reiter at Fox Sports pointed out that Kobe contract extension may have been designed by both team and player not to win a championship… but to make Kobe the all-time NBA scoring leader. “Kobe has also ensured that it will be very difficult for the Lakers to bring in another great player,” Reiter wrote. “Let alone two. Which means he has gone a long way toward keeping the ball in his hands.” Kobe is at 31,700 points, 6,687 behind Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s 38,387. At the time of the extension, Reiter estimated that Kobe would “need to score between 24 and 28 points per game” throughout the rest of his contract. There have been many times this would have seemed reasonable; Kobe hasn’t averaged less than 24 points this century. But it’s funny how, when you get old, it gets real late real early.

Kobe broke a bone in his knee earlier this week, and he’s going be out four-to-six weeks, though realistically, this is going to be a wasted season for him. (He’s averaged 13.8 points in his six games this year, for a total of 83 points, just two more than he scored against Toronto on January 22, 2006.) If Kobe returns in six weeks, the Lakers’ season will be over — they’re at 8.9 percent playoff odds right now, and that’s going to get worse in the next month-plus — and there will be no need to push Kobe. He’ll score some points before 2013-14 is over, but this is a lost season.

He’s not gonna catch Kareem. Let’s do the math here. Let’s say he returns around Valentine’s Day. That gives him 28 games left in the season, and we’ll be kind and say he averages, oh, 18. (Higher than where he’s at now, but far below his lifetime average.) That’s 504 points, putting him 6,183 behind Kareem. He has two more years on his Lakers contract. If he averages 20 points a game and plays in every single game those two seasons — two highly dubious propositions, but we’ll give him the benefit of the doubt — that’ll be 3,280 points, putting him 2,903 away. If the Lakers (or whomever) give him an extra two years after that, he’ll need to average 17.7 points per game in 2016-17 and 2017-18, while once again not missing a single game, to tie Kareem. He’ll turn 40 in January 2018, and unless he’s gonna bulk up Magic-like, he’ll be playing shooting guard against people literally half his age. It’s not happening. Kareem’s record is safe.

It didn’t seem that way not long ago; he was given a legitimate shot just last March. And it has obviously been in Kobe’s mind. He’s no dummy, he knows this isn’t a championship team he’s signing up for. (If he wanted another title more than he wanted the scoring title, he’d go all Clyde Drexler/Charles Barkley and follow LeBron around at the veteran minimum.) He probably thought he had a chance too. But this is normal: We often think we’re watching history in the making. And we’re often not.

The best example of this is probably Alex Rodriguez. After the 2008 season, which A-Rod hit 35 home runs, he was only 203 behind passing Barry Bonds as baseball’s all-time home run leader. That seemed like a foregone conclusion: Since joining the Yankees six years earlier, he had averaged 42 a season. As Nate Silver, who broke down A-Rod’s chances in February 2009, wrote: “If he maintains that pace, he’ll overtake Bonds’ mark on the last day of the 2013 season.” You might not remember, but A-Rod did not, in fact, overtake Bonds’ mark on the last day of the 2013 season.

Silver, in a piece that was widely derided at the time, wrote that, “Rodriguez’s breaking the career home run record is nowhere near the foregone conclusion it appears to be.” He, as Yankees fans mocked, predicted the following home run totals for A-Rod:

2009: 33 (586) 2010: 30 (616) 2011: 27 (643) 2012: 25 (668) 2013: 18 (686) 2014: 16 (702)

Those yelling at Silver were totally right: He was completely wrong on A-Rod. Here’s how many homers A-Rod actually hit over those next five years:

2009: 30 (583) 2010: 30 (613) 2011: 16 (629) 2012: 18 (647) 2013: 7 (654) 2014: ?

It’s easy to look at A-Rod now and say “why did people doubt Nate Silver?” but that’s what we did, because it is human nature to see what’s happening right now and just assume it will happen forever. (It’s charmingly optimistic, all told.) Everyone thought A-Rod was breaking that record. Obviously.

We assume history. At one point, someone must have assumed that Dominique Wilkins would have the all-time scoring record, or Albert Pujols would be the all-time home run champ, or Tom Brady was going to be the all-time passing yards leader. When we are young, we believe we, and everyone around us, will be young forever. But it all ends. And it usually ends sooner than we think. It could all end today.


Email me at follow me @williamfleitch or just shout out your window real loud, I’ll hear you. Point is, let’s talk.


lane kiffin13

Tomas Rios

More from Tomas

Failure On The Horizon

Unemployed football coach Lane Kiffin extended Tomas Rios an invitation to join his Monday meeting with Nick Saban and Alabama’s offensive coaching staff. Here’s what happened …

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — It’s easy to see failure coming when you’re not the target. Divorced from base, personal interest, we have an instinct for when someone else is heading off blindly into their own setting sun. The cousin who swears this BitCoin thing is going to pay off. The college friend who’s majoring in Akkadian history. You know them, and their unknowing giddiness for existentially doomed ideas only intensifies your dread. This is what it felt like shaking Lane Kiffin’s hand, on the morning of his meeting with the legendary Nick Saban.

We meet in the Tuscaloosa airport parking lot, which, besides square footage, is likely not much different from Los Angeles International’s parking lot. That’s where Kiffin was when his time as USC football’s head coach ended. It was the morning after a 62-41 loss to Arizona State, which dropped the team to 4-7 over its last 11 games. He was called off the team bus, brought into a small room inside the terminal and terminated with the breezy apathy of a gangland execution. Airport parking lots are not a happy place for anyone and especially not for Kiffin, but he plays it off. He plays everything off. The handshake happens, and he leads me over to his rental car.

“Great parking lot here in Tuscaloose, huh? Yeah, I said Tuscaloose. Trying to add some chuckles to the old brand, mix it up a bit,” says Kiffin as he sweatily twitches inside a rumpled, four-button sack suit. Maybe it was five.

“You know Darren Rovell? He’s great at brands. Gotta have a brand, right?” Kiffin asks, without pausing for an answer. “Gotta make the people believe in you. Gotta believe in yourself. In. Your. Self.” A copy of Joel Osteen’s book, Break Out!: 5 Keys to Go Beyond Your Barriers and Live an Extraordinary Life, is peeking out of Kiffin’s partially unzipped Jansport. Living the doctrines of Rovell and Osteen is a decision requiring bleak life conditions, and Kiffin has them.

We get inside a rental sedan that’s the most perfect shade of depression grey. Kiffin spends several minutes attempting to synch his Microsoft Zune with the car’s bluetooth. The Drake remix of Migos’ “Versace” hits the speakers. Kiffin notices my shock and jumps on it.

“Yeahhhh … uh … son! Not expecting that, huh?”

Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace.

“That’s a little something you call redefining a brand, my dawwg.”

Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace.

“This is a good song, in my opinion … son-dawwg.”

Versace, Versace, Medusa head on me like I’m ‘luminati.

Seven years ago, Kiffin was the mastermind behind USC’s offense and had just been hired to coach the Oakland Raiders. Then he went 5-15, lost his job, returned to college coaching and ended up back at USC, then got fired when the program’s resurgence went deadly sour. Now he’s drafting an anonymous writer to help rebrand himself as something, anything, other than a memorable failure. Coming from a professional coaching legacy bumped him to the front of the line far too quickly, but he never did anything to me, and it’s hard to resent a Labrador in search of long-lost affection. The second I start rooting for him is when the smell of failure starts wafting away. Which is good, since we’re headed straight to his meeting with Saban.

“I told ’em I’d have to squeeze them in, y’know? Act like a big dog and you’ll become a big dog,” says Kiffin. “Even paid for my own flight and car, so they’d know I don’t need any help. Started from the bottom and all that … my ni– Oh, we’re here!” I say a silent, pagan prayer for the odds to break his way.

Kiffin’s meeting is held in a generic tape analysis room. The offensive coaching staff is seated ramrod-straight in the back row, and they remain silent throughout. Saban isn’t here yet. There is a table with an obviously stale salad and four boxes of Little Debbie oatmeal creme pies, awaiting their master. Saban enters just as Kiffin goes for the Little Debbie.

“No. Saban’s. Saban’s pies,” says Saban, as he smacks Kiffin’s hand away, locks eyes with him and gets within an inch of his face.

“You listen to me, and you listen goddamn good. Pies are for champions. Those coaches back there? They don’t have any pies. Know why? They’re weak. Champions aren’t weak. Champions get pies. Now show me you’re not weak. Show me you deserve a pie.”

If the alpha male routine unnerved his exuberant performance of confidence, Kiffin doesn’t show it. He snatches a pie and winks at me, just as Saban turns his back on him to grab a chair and flip on the projector. What follows is nothing less than artistic genius.

The hours buzz-saw by, as Kiffin seamlessly explains advanced permutations of Alabama’s offensive scheme. Saban sits in rapt silence and occasionally nods, his equivalent of awed praise. By the end, I am reasonably certain that Kiffin has solved Fermat’s Enigma via X’s and O’s. Saban gets up, takes his hand, pulls him in and whispers, “You’re no champion. You don’t get a pie.”

Security soon has us in the parking lot, back inside the grey sedan. Kiffin does not put on Versace. I can smell the failure again, but the sympathy it was tinged with makes my heart wrench for him. He didn’t deserve this. We sit in silence. Kiffin is a boiling red.

Then Saban walks by, with his staff in tow. They’re laughing. They’d milked Kiffin for all he was worth and discarded him like an old cow. Saban gets in his car, and we both catch a glimpse of a sociopathic, self-satisfied smirk.

In that moment, I can only assume that Kiffin sees the bleak professional future that’s been assumed for him. “It’s time to build my brand,” he says. Kiffin gets out of the car and spirals the filched oatmeal creme pie at Saban’s departing 2002 PT Cruiser. The sound of artificial confection meeting rear windshield produces a squishy yet satisfying splat. Saban stops and opens his door, as Kiffin runs toward a setting sun.

I hear him shouting “Versace, Versace, Versace, Versace!” as he leaves the parking lot.

This has been an account of the day Tomas Rios spent with Lane Kiffin.

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