Several movies have been made based on crimes related to gamblers, but viewers hardly expect such things to happen in real life. However, news reports show that gambler-related crimes are real and give great cause for concern. Recently, Masaaki Kagawa, a poker player aged 50 years, and many others were arrested for engineering an Android malware ring. Symantec, a widely acclaimed anti-virus company, said that the ring involved spam and a fake dating site. The malware program, called Android Enesoluty, had the ability to absorb personal data and direct it to Kagawa’s servers.
Ars Technica reports that Symantec was collaborating with the Chiba Prefectural Police of Japan to bust the malware ring. Kagawa was just one of the nine people who were arrested, by which time they had made a profit of around $3.9 million.
The arrests made headlines and attracted a great deal of attention because Kagawa is a well-known and highly successful personality. He is not only a successful poker player, but also the head of Koei Planning, an IT company. He has been playing high-stakes poker ever since 2008, and so far, he has won a total of $1.5 million playing high stakes games. Ars Technica states he was taking part in a poker tournament when the Japanese police were investigating him.
The malware attack was successful because it functioned on multiple levels. Besides the usual spamming, the crooks used Android Enesoluty to steal victims’ contact information. The spammers used this information to invite their victims to Sakura, a fake online dating service. According to reports prepared by Symantec, the malware was borne on more than 150 registered domains and was used to steal around 37 million email addresses and infect 810,000 Android devices. Symantec has been investigating the spamming racket from September 2012 to April 2013.
Vikram Thakur of Symantec Security Response told the Japan Daily Press, “The mobile malware was just a step towards his real scheme, which was to send out spam about his dating site and let people sign up over there and not really get any service.”
The Press report states: “There is also danger that Kagawa might have sold the harvested email addresses to third party spammers who would play for that kind of data.” Thakur is quoted to have said, “By getting signups is where he made his money, but that’s not to say that he didn’t also sell the contact information on to spammers and the like.”