Two major casino operators, MGM Resorts International and Caesars Entertainment, have recently become targets of cyber attacks, impacting their operations and systems. The incidents have sparked an investigation by U.S. law enforcement officials and raised concerns about the vulnerability of businesses reliant on technology.
The Attacks on MGM Resorts
MGM Resorts, a $14 billion gaming giant, faced a cyber attack that led to the paralysis of several of its systems for three consecutive days. The company announced the shutdown of certain systems to contain what it termed as a “cybersecurity issue.” The group responsible for the breach has been identified as Scattered Spider, a hacking group known for its social engineering tactics to compromise login credentials and bypass multi-factor authentication. Charles Carmakal, CTO at Mandiant Intelligence, indicated that the group poses a significant threat to U.S. organizations, despite their relative inexperience.
Caesars Entertainment Also Targeted
In a separate incident, Caesars Entertainment also faced a cyber breach. According to Bloomberg, the casino operator had to pay a ransom to hackers who threatened to leak its data. The breach caused a slump in the share prices of both MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment.
The FBI and Moody’s Response
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) announced that it has started an inquiry into the incident involving MGM Resorts, although they refrained from giving detailed information. On the other hand, rating agency Moody’s warned that these breaches could adversely impact MGM’s credit rating.
Widespread Operational Disruptions
These cyber attacks didn’t just affect online systems; they extended to physical operations as well. Slot machines were reportedly out of service in several MGM venues in Las Vegas. The issue is not just confined to MGM’s Las Vegas locations, as properties in Atlantic City and Detroit were also impacted. Customers faced difficulties in accessing ATMs, making food purchases, and using digital room keys.
Casinos: A Prime Target
Security experts point out that casinos have always been attractive targets for financially motivated cybercriminals. Allan Liska, an intelligence analyst at Recorded Future, notes that casinos are more likely to pay ransoms as such attacks disrupt their operations significantly.
The recent cyber attacks on MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment highlight the significant risks that businesses face in an increasingly digital landscape. As these incidents unfold, they underscore the need for companies to ramp up their cybersecurity measures to safeguard both their assets and customer data.