With security a major concern for online poker players everywhere, PokerStars has launched an SMS validation feature which will use mobile phone verification to provide account holders with added security.
Every registered player will eventually get the new security feature which is being rolled out with the latest PokerStars update. But only after it’s been tested in specific countries to ensure customer expectations are met, according to a press release.
Security has always been a major concern for online poker players who routinely amass significant sums of real cash in their accounts during play.
In March 2011, a 29 year-old man was given a two-year prison sentence for hacking into a computer server owned by the gaming platform Zynga to steal and then launder 400 billion virtual poker chips worth an estimated $12 million.
And, in September 2012, one member of the Two Plus Two Poker Forums, user MicahJ, reported that more than $100,000 was stolen from his account at poker site Lock Poker.
But despite these well-publicised breaches, some security firms say that online poker still poses a security risk to its players.
Last April, Malta-based security company, ReVuln, produced a report detailing how many poker software clients have major vulnerabilities to hacker attacks due to the way they are updated on a player’s computer.
However, the company also noted that PokerStars did provide added security with two-factor authentication, which included a PIN. Now, the world’s largest online poker site, with 50 million registered players, is upping its game by adding mobile phone based security with SMS text messages.
When a player registers their number with PokerStars they will receive an SMS text message whenever potential irregularities in their account are detected by PokerStars’ systems. In such instances, the site will suspend all real money transactions, including deposit, cash out, transfer, tournament registration and cash games, until the player provides the code number included in the SMS text message.
“PokerStars is once again delivering on the importance of security for our customers,” said Michael Josem, Head of Public Relations at PokerStars. “We were the first online poker operator to provide RSA Security Tokens and now the first online poker operator to offer this SMS security mechanism. The service is free to all players and adds an additional security mechanism to help PokerStars player accounts remain safe and secure against online threats.”
PokerStars also said that its SMS validation system will allow certain accounts the ability to reset their password by text messages. This will allow players to more easily reset their account password and regain access to their PokerStars account.
The poker site hasn’t revealed which players or countries will get the new security feature first.