While MGM struggles with an ongoing cyberattack, we have learned that Caesars Entertainment Inc. paid tens of millions to hackers just weeks before MGM’s public announcement of their own cyber breach. According to IT teams inside Caesars Entertainment, hackers successfully infiltrated the company’s system, threatening to leak significant amounts of company data.
Disclosure of this massive breach is expected to take place through a regulatory disclosure later in the year. This disturbing news echoes the recent announcement by MGM Resorts International earlier this week about their own cyber attack. Caesars Entertainment is currently refusing requests for comment on the matter, an attitude reflected in its shares, which took a nosedive of 2.7%, stabilizing at $52.35 on Wednesday.
According to online hacker forums, a hacking group is accused of using social engineering tactics in both cyberattacks, a skill they leverage to breach substantial corporate networks. Tracing the breach’s origins, it was discovered that the hacking group had initially infiltrated an external IT vendor associated with Caesars, establishing a pathway to the company’s network.
Ransomware attacks hit Vegas Casinos.
According to IT insiders at MGM and Caesars, both attacks were ransomware attacks. Insiders say that the same group that hit MGM was paid millions by Caesars Entertainment in a similar attack in late August.
Ongoing Issues Crippling MGM Resorts
MGM Resorts International is still facing ongoing disruptions due to a substantial cyberattack that started on Sunday, with increasing financial repercussions. A number of groups have either been accused or have taken responsibility for the hack, including the hacker group ALPHV or BlackCat and Scattered Spider or UNC 3944.
The hacker group ALPHV or BlackCat, claimed they initiated the breach through a simple phone call, according to a statement on the malware repository vx-underground. “‘”All ALPHV ransomware group did to compromise MGM Resorts was hop on LinkedIn, find an employee, then call the Help Desk,”‘” the group said, adding that the company “‘”was defeated by a 10-minute conversation.”‘”
The assault has led to the malfunctioning of slot machines at MGM properties and complications with room locks at the a number of Las Vegas Strip hotels — security has been stationed on many of the hotel towers since key cards are not working. As of this reporting, the central website of MGM Resorts has been offline since Wednesday morning, affecting operations in Nevada and seven other states. The company has not divulged extensive details about the attack, maintaining a considerable degree of secrecy.
Guests have shared stories on social media about not being able to make credit card transactions, obtain money from cash machines and enter hotel rooms using key cards. We are also hearing reports of people getting unauthorized charges on cards they used at MGM Resorts properties. As of this morning, guests at properties including the Aria, Bellagio, Luxor, MGM Grand, and Mandalay Bay, were still reporting extensive issues, from being unable to get cash payouts on slot machines to digital room keys still being rendered nonfunctional.