MGM Resorts International was left a bit shaken earlier this month after getting hit by a cyber attack on Sunday, September 10th. As MGM called it, the “cybersecurity issue” began creating issues for the casino operator early Sunday and continued for several days.
MGM Resorts International owns over two dozen hotels and casinos across the globe. They also manage a successful online casino, BetMGM, and a sports betting platform. Everything from property websites to hotel room keys to slot machines experienced complications from the hack. According to bloomberg.com, many resort employees were left with no choice but to take operations to a more manual mode, writing handwritten vouchers for casino winnings and creating physical keys for customers.
It took the casino conglomerate ten days to get things under wrap. On September 20th, MGM announced that things were back to normal again, but that there may still be some “intermittent issues.” The company also announced that the MGM Rewards system may still be unavailable.
“Promptly after detecting the issue, we quickly began an investigation with assistance from leading external cybersecurity experts,” said MGM Resorts International in a statement on Monday, September 11th. Officials from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department and the FBI were informed of the incident within the first 24 hours. According to 8newsnow.com, by midday Monday, all MGM Resorts International websites were down.
It’s unclear whether this was the cause of the cyber hackers or if this was intentionally done to protect sensitive information. According to a statement by MGM, several systems were shut down to protect company data.
Late on Monday evening, MGM posted to its X account, stating, “As an update to our previous statement, our resorts, including dining, entertainment, and gaming are currently operational, and continue to deliver the experiences for which MGM is known. Our guests remain able to access their hotel rooms, and our Front Desk staff is ready to assist our guests as needed. We appreciate your patience.”
Not the Only Casino Brand to Face Recent Cyber Security Threat
Around the same time as the attack on MGM, Caesars experienced a similar incident where hackers successfully received a $15 million ransom from the company. According to a filing by Caesars Entertainment with the US Securities and Exchange Commission, both driver’s license and social security numbers were stolen.
Cyber Security expert, Shannon Wilkinson, who works for Tego Cyber Inc., commented on Ceasars situation, stating “It’s kind of the rock in the hard place argument. So, what do you do? Do you pay the ransom so that they don’t release the data? Or do pay the ransom so they unencrypt your systems that they’ve locked up? The FBI recommends that organizations do not pay the ransom.
“. . . it is a learning experience for the entire community and organization about how we can better protect all organizations regardless of what industry they are, so I do hope that there will be some transparency in the coming months as they go through the investigation.”
The group or individual that gained access to Caesars systems requested $30 million in exchange for control of their platform. It was reported that the company was able to negotiate the ransom down to somewhere around $15 million, although that figure has not been confirmed by Caesars.
Caesars has reached out to customers who have been affected and is offering both credit monitoring and identity protection services for a time.
We will be sure to release any updates on our website at www.playonlinemichigan.com.
Mac Daniel is a writer for PlayOnlineCasino and PlayOnlineSportsBetting. He has experience writing about a wide variety of topics, including healthcare, tourism, non-profit organizations, and most recently casino and sportsbetting news. To check out more of his work, visit: playonlinemichigan.com