We’ve heard a number of Las Vegas crime stories over the last couple years. Most recently, there was a shooting right on the floor of the Rio. That’s the same Rio that plays host to the World Series of Poker year after year. It made the news – and made players very nervous.
We’ve also heard about the motorcycle bandit who stormed into the Bellagio and robbed a blackjack table of over a million in chips. These are the types of stories that make the news.
But something happened at The Venetian back in February that has only come to light this week:
On February 10th, during the early hours while most Las Vegas vacationers were either nursing their hangover or fast asleep gearing up for a new day of Sin City action, The Venetian was under attack. By Iran.
Yes, as in Iran the country. On that early February morning, computers started to flat line, one by one, across the entire casino property. Email went down. Phones stopped working. Computers were being wiped clean. And pretty much every piece of technology designed to keep the $14 billion Venetian property running the way it should was being compromised.
As employees started to call IT to let them know that their computers suddenly stopped working, everyone began to scramble. IT raced across the property and pulled network cables from any machine that was hooked up to the Internet.
Las Vegas Sands Corp, which owns and runs The Venetian and Palazzo, was under attack.
The hackers weren’t stealing money. They were just bringing down the system. Every system, including the one that ran the loyalty program and the one that monitors the payouts of the slots and table games.
At first, it was suspected that someone was trying to steal customer data. After all, there have been a series of consumer data compromises over the last year-and-a-half, including the big Target breach that saw millions of personal information fall into the wrong hands. But this wasn’t just a crime. It was war. Cyberwar.
Sheldon Adelson, the man who owns Las Vegas Sands, happens to be a staunch supporter of Israel. He’s made some very public comments about how he’d like to negotiate with Iran. And I’ll give you a clue. It doesn’t involve sitting down for tea and cupcakes.
It’s believed that Iran hackers worked to cause chaos and teach Adelson a lesson, though it’s not clear if the government of Iran was involved.
The Venetian hack might have ushered in a new era of politically motivated cyber warfare. Earlier this month, Sony’s servers were hacked and loads of internal information was leaked along with movies. North Korea is believed to be behind the attack.
So what does this all mean for you, the consumer? Maybe be careful the next time you connect to WiFi should you find yourself in Las Vegas. You never know who’s watching.You can always just play it safe and log into your Silver Oak Casino account and play form the safety and comfort of your home…just saying….