The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'gambling'
There are a few interesting articles about cybercrime and the seamy side of the net at CIO.com: a fictionalised "CIO to the Mob" explains how online crime can pay, how online criminals use anti-forensics technology to be nigh-impossible to catch, and how the online porn and gambling industries are, as always, pushing the envelope in technological innovation and practice:
Red light sites probably aren't places CIOs normally would look to find innovative IT. But the sex and gambling industries have always been at the forefront of technological innovation. During World War II, the illegal telephone network that bookies developed was more reliable than the one the War Department used, says Harold Layer, professor emeritus at San Francisco State University. And the pornography industry has helped select technology winners and losers for ages. In the 1980s, for example, demand for adult material gave VCR makers the economies of scale they needed to make their devices affordable, says Jonathan Coopersmith, a professor of technology history at Texas A&M University.
With every program available at any moment, how will users find programs? Piper believes that search will be the killer app of IPTV. To that end, New Frontier is obsessive about metadata, watching every frame of every video it digitizes and recording as many attributes as it can. Customers can use these metadata tags to refine their searches until they find precisely what they're looking for. (For example, if you have a thing for blondes on the beach, a search on New Frontier's adult website Ten.com for "clothing-accessories-sunglasses," combined with "setting-outdoors-beach," and "physical-hair-blonde," returns two 15-minute clips, the fourth scene from Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Bimbos 2 and the first scene from Pick Up Lines 82.)
In the US, there has been some concern recently over automated voting machines that allow elections to be easily and undetectably rigged (not that anyone in a position of power would do such a nefarious thing, of course). Now the state of Nevada is putting its expertise in auditing slot machines to use on the voting machines. Slot machines (of which Nevada is full) are apparently subject to extremely rigorous technical audits to find any possible security holes, vulnerabilities or bugs that could compromise their fairness or allow them to be rigged; voting machines face no such standards. (via Slashdot)
A hacker working for a Mafia gambling operation tells his story:
I'm building a secure, online, peer-to-peer, encrypted, redundant bet-processing system with an offshore data warehouse. Ordinary companies would hire a team to put this together; I'm working with one guy. Getting the system up and running is a three-step process. First, eliminate all those incriminating little pieces of paper. Instead of writing down a wager, the operator will enter the bet onto an online form. The whole transaction will be encrypted by a browser and sent over the Net to a server running in an undisclosed country where the laws are more liberal than they are in the US. Essentially, the system acts as a market maker, matching up people who want to take different sides of a sports bet.
The fact remains that I could be pulling in $150,000 as a programmer on the open market. But I make a third of that. So why am I risking a prison sentence or the potential of a lifetime in witness protection for a job that doesn't make me all that rich? Simple: When you start making a lot of money, you get noticed by the biggest bullies on the block - the cops and the IRS - and I don't want that. I like living below the radar. I sublet a friend's apartment and pay his utility bills with money orders that I purchase at the post office or at one of those check-cashing storefronts. Because I get paid entirely in cash, I don't fork over any taxes. When you get right down to it, I'm an idealist. I don't condone the actions of the US government. By refusing to pay taxes, I withhold my financial support. And, truth be told, I like mobsters. They're more willing to accept you at face value. They aren't hung up on college degrees, or where you live, or how many criminal convictions you have.
In the UK, there are fruit machines everywhere (in pubs, arcades, even kiosks at railway stations); the machines are basically embedded PCs. Now an activist group has obtained the ROMs from one such machine, run them through an emulator and found out that they're rigged. (via MeFi)
The answer, of course, is "It makes no difference". The machine has already determined whether you're going to win or lose. If the machine has decided you're going to lose and you choose "Higher", the machine will spin in a number lower than a 10. If you choose "Lower", it'll spin in a higher number. There's absolutely nothing you can do about it. It's not a "gamble" at all. It's fraud, and it's illegal.
In other news, those penis enlargement pills those nice young ladies keep hawking in email don't work. And neither do the breast enlargement pills, hair restoration pills, or golf-skills-enhancement pills (which, in fact, contain identical ingredients). (via TechDirt)
The case also has opened a window on just how lucrative the painless body enhancement business can be, especially if youre willing to ignore regulatory niceties and consumer-protection statutes.
That's one way of putting it.
The story of how a team of math geeks from MIT hacked Las Vegas blackjack, developing a team-based card-counting method that raked in huge profits and evaded the casinos' usual countermeasures -- for a while, anyway. (via Plastic)
From July 1, the Victorian government will require the state's proliferation of Kennett-era gambling venues to have clocks and natural light. Why? Because gambling venues traditionally eliminate any cues as to what time it is outside, even to the point of keeping the air temperature and humidity constant, so that gamblers become disoriented, losing sense of time and suspending their better judgment. (Tellingly, similar techniques are used by interrogators to weaken prisoners' resolve.)