Russian cyber attack on Las Vegas casinos and hotels

MGM Resorts and Caesar's Palace amongst those hit.
Sejal Sharma
The MGM Grand on Las Vegas strip
The MGM Grand on Las Vegas strip


Many hotels under the MGM Resorts lining the strip in Las Vegas and around the globe were hit with a cyber security attack Monday. Everything from gaming machines to hotel communications has been inoperable for four days. Thousands of guests have been locked out of their hotel rooms.

The company has posted a statement on X, while their website remains ‘unavailable.’ 

Major data breach

Reportedly, hotel and casino company Caesars Entertainment was also attacked by a ransomware group, whom it paid millions of dollars in ransom, reported Radar Online. As per a Wall Street Journal report, Caesars was asked to pay $30 million, but they negotiated with the hackers to pay half of that amount. The company will include the cyberattack in a Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) filing.

The guest and employee data are among the impacted materials at MGM. The breach in security has also affected the experiences of guests at these resorts, who come from places far off to gamble.

MGM has under its belt some top-of-the-line hotels on the strip - Bellagio, Aria, Mandalay Bay, Cosmopolitan, Excalibur - preemptively shut down internal networks after discovering the breach on Sunday, reported Financial Times.

Who hacked and how?

The FBI said it was aware of the situation and is investigating. Russian ransomware group ALPHV, also called BlackCat, has claimed responsibility for the attack.

All it took was identifying on LinkedIn an employee who worked at MGM, posing as that team member, and calling the help desk to seek a password change. Within 10 minutes, the whole system was hacked, reported Forbes.

MGM resorted to old methods - pen and paper - to check in their guests and paid out manually the earnings from machines and games that were still working.

BlackCat has previously claimed responsibility for attacks against organizations like Reddit and Western Digital. It is well-known amongst the ransomware and cyber security industry. The hacker company has hit at least 60 organizations with cyber attacks.

Malware archive vx-underground has suggested on X that MGM has not yet met the ransomware gang’s demands, writing: “In our opinion, MGM will not pay.”

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