Would you play poker online for real money at an unsecure poker site? Well if you’re playing on the Cereus Poker Network (Absolute Poker / Ultimate Bet) then that’s exactly what you’re doing.
On May 6th 2010, PokerTableRatings published a report detailing the discovery of a critical flaw in the Cereus Poker software. They found out that it was possible to essentially hijack somebody’s poker account and display their hole cards in real time. Here’s a video they made and posted on YouTube.
Here is the synopsis of the report by PTR:
There is a critical vulnerability in the Cereus Network software which makes it possible for an attacker to hijack poker accounts and view hole cards. The only 100% protection is to stop playing on Cereus Network until they upgrade to using SSL. To our knowledge there are no cases of this vulnerability being used to exploit actual players. We created test accounts for all proof of concept testing done during the discovery of this vulnerability. We do not have passwords to any unauthorized user accounts. The Cereus Network has been notified of this vulnerability. We will continue to report on this as it develops.
The Cereus Poker Network has responded and says “we will not rest until it is fixed. We plan to have this issue resolved within a matter of hours”.
Despite some false reporting by poker news websites and other affiliates who earn money from promoting Ultimate Bet / Absolute Poker, it is NOT safe to play at Cereus at this moment in time. If you do play on these sites then this should make you think twice about it. In fact, there’s absolutely no reason to play at these sites anyway, because they are poor quality and run by very shady companies.
To say that the Cereus Poker Network has a troubled past is putting it mildly. Back in 2007 there was the “super user” scandal at Absolute Poker, in which millions of pounds was stolen from honest poker players. At the time the owners failed to properly investigate, told blatant lies, and basically covered everything up until evidence to the contrary (courtesy of diligent 2+2 forum posters) forced them to admit the scam. Its three years since that debacle and questions still remain as to exactly how much was stolen and who was involved.
This most recent security issue might not be insider cheating like before (although considering there shady history it could be another way to scam players) but it’s still a massive issue that needs fixing and questions need to be answered. In another industry, one that is regulated, these jokers would be put out of business. Instead we’ll just get more spin from their “regulators” the Kahawake Gambling Commission and the affiliate sites that profit from keeping the AP/UB brands alive and kicking.
Amazingly the Cereus Network is among the top 10 online poker sites/networks in terms of player traffic, according to Poker Scout. How much bad press does a company need to get before they crash and burn? Unfortunately you won’t find much truthful coverage of this incident on poker news and affiliate sites if they have a banner ad or two promoting these brands. It also won’t stop Phil Hellmuth or Annie Duke associating themselves with them – just as long as they money keeps pouring in.
If you want to play online poker at sites that are secure and value integrity then I recommend PokerStars.