Tenth day of Hackmas: The great pokies hack that the courts believed was “a lucky streak”
In a similar story to the Ninth Day of Hackmas, two gamblers (John Kane and Andre Nestor) found a bug in a poker machine in Las Vegas.
Exploiting the bug enabled them to win half a million dollars. Kane had heard about a firmware bug with the poker machines that let him play a prior winning hand again – but this time at over ten times the original value!
The casino had the pair arrested over their claim of suspicious play. They were ultimately sued for hacking and their lawyer argued
“All these guys did is simply push a sequence of buttons that they were legally entitled to push.”
They won the case.
The pair were originally charged with “computer and wire fraud” in January of 2011 with federal prosecutors alleging that the bug in the firmware had to be activated. The activation process was a complex system of pressing buttons which they argued, was a form of hacking.
But the men’s defence argued that both the men pressed buttons on the face of the machine that they were legally allowed to press and nothing more. Therefore they were playing by the rules presented to them and it could therefore be put down to a “lucky streak” (source).