Over the last couple of days, several high stakes poker players fell victim to phone hacks and took to twitter to warn the community.
Those who went public about the hacks were high stakes player Dan “Danny98765” Smith, former PokerStars pro turned DJ Venessa Rousso, and 3 time WSOP bracelet winner and PokerStars pro Vanessa Selbst.
The hackers were able to gain access to several account after hacking in to peoples’ phones, and taking advantage of services that use verification over SMS.
The first once to bring this issue to light was Dan Smith. He took to twitter and made light of his hacking misfortune along with his recent run at the PokerStars SCOOP.
Some accounts got hacked last night, don't western union money please.
Idiot hackers should have tried this before scoop/Monaco 🙂
— Dan Smith (@DanSmithHolla) May 23, 2017
The one whom caused most concern was Vanessa Rousso. On Tuesday, tweets were coming out of her twitter account that had her followers very worried:
“Police are literally ignoring me and my calls please Kelsea you know me, this is serious”
“Help me please!!!”
“My family is being held hostage”
After sending all her followers into panic mode, luckily, a post on the following days settled everyone.
“Hey guys so sorry, I was hacked :/ Everything’s resolved now and everyone is ok”, posted Rousso.
What happened to Rousso is known as “swatting”. It is an act of deceiving police into thinking someone is in an emergency situation, and ends up with the police sending in a SWAT team to the target destination.
It is a very serious situation that has been used mostly by disgruntled online gamers that try to get their opponents into real life trouble.
Thankfully for Rousso, nothing serious happened to her besides having her phone hacked.
Another pro poker player, Vanessa Selbst, found herself in a little more trouble than the others. Not only was her phone hacked, the perpetrators also managed to get access into her gmail account and changed her password to her dropbox account.
This is insane. Someone hacked my gmail, changed PW on my @Dropbox account, and there's no one that can provide immediate help
— Vanessa Selbst 🏳️🌈 (@VanessaSelbst) May 23, 2017
Given that the hackers’ primary goal was bitcoins, it’s not surprising so many high stakes poker players were targeted, as it’s a fair assumption that many successful players will have high amount of funds stored in various accounts.
So far, no cash has been reported to have been stolen in any of the cases.