Two of Las Vegas’ iconic casinos, the MGM and Caesars hotel, have fallen victim to a major cyberattack. Over the course of this week, it has been revealed that computer systems had been left severely disrupted, causing widespread panic throughout the hospitality and gaming industry.
Reports claim casino guests and staff have had difficulties accessing room reservations, making transactions, and using key services. The management immediately initiated an emergency response protocol to contain the situation and mitigate the damage.
MGM Resorts International, the parent company of MGM Caesar, confirmed the attack in a press release issued this week. The statement noted that the company’s IT security teams were working tirelessly to restore normalcy. In the meantime, they assured customers that their personal and financial information remained secure due to advanced encryption protocols and immediate action taken to isolate the affected systems.
Local law enforcement and federal agencies have launched an investigation into the cyberattack. Their primary focus is on identifying the perpetrators behind this breach and determining their motives. The casino’s surveillance footage is expected to be a crucial piece of evidence in the ongoing investigation.
This incident serves as a stark reminder of the importance of cybersecurity measures, not only for corporations but also for the protection of customers’ sensitive information. As the investigation unfolds, MGM Resorts International has promised to keep its stakeholders and the public informed about any developments related to the cyberattack.
The following cybersecurity experts have provided their insights and thoughts.
James McQuiggan, security awareness advocate at KnowBe4:
Organizations work tirelessly to protect their infrastructure and data from cybercriminals. The challenge lies with the third-party service providers who can also access the network. If they have a different security culture and mindset, it can only be a matter of time before your organization succumbs to an attack. While cybersecurity occurs daily, a Third Party Risk Management program is crucial to assess vendors, security practices, controls, past breaches, and financial stability. Proactively managing third-party cyber risk is crucial for resilience. A robust TPRM program can pay significant dividends in the long run and will only lead to a data breach without one.
Darren James, a Senior Product Manager at Specops Software:
This is another example of where threat actors are using a combination of publicly available information, technology, and human behavior to gain access to valuable and sensitive systems and data. It’s important for organizations to realize that zero trust extends to all processes including those of the service desk. Securely verifying the user at the other end of the line has never been more important, you can no longer rely on weak factors such as a recognizable voice, or a shared code word. Without secure verification at the service desk, you’ll be leaving yourselves open to both monetary and reputational consequences – something that appears in this case that could have been avoided.
In an era where digital transformation is reshaping the way the tourism industry operates, the reliance on interconnected systems and data-driven processes has never been greater. As such, the sector becomes an attractive target for cybercriminals seeking financial gain or to exploit vulnerabilities for malicious purposes. The MGM Resorts incident is emblematic of this overarching challenge. Recognizing the pivotal role technology plays in enhancing guest experiences, optimizing operations, and facilitating global connectivity, the tourism industry must allocate resources to bolster its cybersecurity posture. To that purpose, data-centric security stands as the most effective approach in safeguarding organizations within the tourism industry due to its inherent focus on protecting the core asset that cybercriminals seek to exploit: data itself.
Fergal Lyons, Cybersecurity Evangelist at Centripetal: