Russian hacker accused of decoding slot games

  • A Russian hacker has allegedly found a method of decoding RNG in slot games
  • Hacker allegedly demanding money from developer, Aristocrat to not share information

A mathematical prodigy named as ‘Alex’ is under fire for reportedly attempting to blackmail a software developer over weaknesses in their video slots.

Russian hacker slot

Aussie gambling firm Aristocrat has allegedly been targeted by the Russian programming genius whose reported speciality lies in decoding the random number generators that are an integral part of all skill-based games.

Weaknesses in RNG

The case stems from a reported scam orchestrated in casinos last year in which teams of primarily Russian players successfully plucked up to $250,000 a week from certain slot machines, using weaknesses in their RNG to hit spin at moments when the house edge was lowered.

The complex but ingenious scam involved the players discreetly videoing the slots before sending the footage to Alex and his team to analyse. They would then send timing data to a custom app in the player’s pocket that would vibrate at the opportune moment to spin.

Latest reports suggest that the enigmatic and talented Alex has since moved on to new targets, seemingly having cracked the RNG at the heart of Aristocrat’s slots including their newest models.

In return for not leaking the secrets to their games, and exposing land-based casinos to huge losses run up on Aristocrat slots, Alex has demanded £10 million from the Australian developer.

Bug bounties

Few would dispute that Alex, regardless of his morals, is a phenomenal talent whose mastery of mathematics and random numbers is impressive. Whether that justifies his attempt to claim a generous ‘consultancy fee’ from Aristocrat is another matter however.

While so-called bug bounties are commonplace to reward white hat hackers, Alex would likely be the first to concede that his intentions aren’t that honourable. Aristocrat has resisted the hacker’s demands to pay up for now, but the company faces quite the quandary: to pay up, and risk having the exploits – if legitimate – used against them anyway, or to rebuff Alex’s overtures and risk having land-based casinos refuse to stock their slots.

While the mechanics of video slots are far too complex for the average fraudster to cheat, for a handful of exceptionally talented programmers, there’s always a way to game the system. Alex seems to have found that way and he’s not willing to give it up without being handsomely rewarded for his troubles.

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