MGM has not disclosed which systems were affected or how the incident occurred, but they have contacted law enforcement. The FBI confirmed on Tuesday that they are investigating the matter.
Cybersecurity experts are cautious about speculating on whether MGM Resorts fell victim to hackers in a ransomware attack, although several signs suggest that direction.
Alex Hamerstone, an advisory solutions director at TrustedSec, an Ohio-based information security consulting organization, stated that MGM was likely losing money with each passing minute due to disrupted hotel and restaurant reservations, inaccessible slot machines, and sports bets.
The company’s reputation has also taken a hit, which could have long-lasting effects. The experience has been quite a challenge for visitors and guests.
Guests faced long lines, delays, and inconveniences at MGM properties as they struggled to access their rooms and services. Some had to resort to writing down credit card numbers for manual processing, and hotel ATMs were also out of service.
The impact of this cybersecurity issue could persist for several days or even months or years, depending on its extent. While MGM has not explicitly referred to it as a cyberattack, the FBI’s involvement suggests otherwise.
Despite the challenges, MGM’s resorts, including dining, entertainment, and gaming, remain operational, and the company is working to address the situation while appreciating guests’ patience.
However, various services, such as paid parking and some slot machines, remain affected. It remains uncertain whether MGM is facing extortion by hackers, and experts are refraining from speculating on the matter.
The incident’s broad impact across multiple systems and geographic locations has raised serious concerns, and investors and industry analysts will closely monitor MGM’s response to the situation. It appears MGM isn’t the only resort dealing with these types of cyber attacks.
Caesars Entertainment was also a recent victim of a cyber attack. They paid tens of millions of dollars to hackers who broke into the company’s systems recently and threatened to release the company’s data, according to two people familiar with the matter.
The hotel-casino operator is expected to disclose the cyberattack in a regulatory filing imminently, the people said.
Hacking gangs typically ask to be paid in cryptocurrency if they demand a ransom. Some attacks deploy ransomware that locks up computer files, and the hackers then provide a decryption key if the victim pays.
More recently, however, hacking gangs have stolen data from companies and then demanded payment, threatening to publish the information unless they are paid.
The group behind the Caesars attack is known as Scattered Spider or UNC 3944, according to the people. Its members are skilled at using social engineering to gain access to large corporate networks, according to cybersecurity experts.
In the case of Caesars, the hackers first breached an outside IT vendor before gaining access to the company’s network, according to the people familiar with the matter.
The hackers began targeting Caesars as early as Aug. 27, according to one of the people.
Members of the hacking group are believed to be young adults, some as young as 19, residing in the U.S. and the U.K., according to a person who has investigated multiple hacks by the group.
Visitors and guests will need to be more mindful of their surroundings and pay close attention to which resorts they choose to visit.
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