Missouri Casinos losing millions to Russian Hackers

Missouri casinos have become the latest in a string of hacker schemes to bilk slot machines and send the money to a Russian hacker organization.

Russia hackers have exploited European casinos since 2009, when the country outlawed virtually all gambling, forcing Russian casinos to sell their slot machines at steep discounts world wide. Some of the machines were purchased by the hackers who probed the machines’ source code for vulnerabilities. By 2014, the malware infested machines made it to Missouri.

The four-man team, however, got cocky and a little too greedy. After their initial forays into the Missouri gaming industry the team planned to spend the next several days hitting various casinos in Missouri and western Illinois. Based on intelligence gathered by US and European investigators, security personnel spotted the team inside the Hollywood Casino in St. Louis and arrested them all. Because Bliev and his cohorts had pulled their scam across state lines, federal authorities charged them with conspiracy to commit fraud. The indictments represented the first significant setbacks for the St. Petersburg organization; never before had any of its operatives faced prosecution.

The moral: Don’t buy used equipment that exchanges money, or get someone to help you make it clean.