Friday, July 26, 2013

Japanese High-Stakes Pro Masaaki Kagawa Indicted in Malware Scam

Online security site Symantec and tech-news site ArsTechnica have dropped a story of interest to the international tournament poker scene, the arrest of Japan's Masaaki Kagawa, perhaps that country's most famous player.

Kagawa, 50, was arrested after an investigation into a spamming operation using malware installed on victims' Android-based devices, then transmitted contact information through which fake dating sites were spammed to the victims.  At least $3.9 million in alleged fraudulent charges was traced to Kagawa and his tech firm / production company, Koei Planning.

According to ArsTechnica and other reports, the scam was traced to a malware trojan discovered and announced by Symantac security researchers in August, 2012, which of course, raises the question of what other surreptitious activities Kagawa and his company might have been involved in.

The Symantec piece on the arrest of Kagawa and eight others notes the specific trojan used to infect devices:

Earlier this week, the Chiba Prefectural Police in Japan arrested nine individuals for distributing spam that included emails with links to download Android.Enesoluty- a malware used to collect contact details stored on the owner’s device.

Then again, the piece also includes the obligatory lame use of poker lingo in a mainstream news piece:

His passion for taking chances and risks has paid off in the game of Poker, but it’s not looking good for his gambling with Android malware.

Kagawa, who has climbed in international recognition following strong showings in recent years at the Aussie Millions and other major events, has several six-figure scores amid his pro tourney career.  That career is likely to suffer at least a brief interruption, if a prosecution goes forward in the case.

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