A new report details a troubling assault on the Sands Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, where a group of Iranians hacked the company’s internal system and brought it to its knees. An entire casino at the mercy of hackers, but it likely wasn’t for the reasons you’d think. No money was taken; instead, it was a digital offensive, possibly due to Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson’s remarks made late last year. A message left on the Sands’ server echoed as much, showing that political disagreements can have actual consequence outside of war.
There was no grab for the massive cash held by The Sands. No effort to download internal documents, just a disruptive effort by hackers — but why?
Adelson recently spoke at Yeshiva University’s campus in Manhattan. At the event, Adelson — a high-profile supporter of Israel — spoke out against the Iranian nuclear program. Adelson said, in part, he’d detonate a warhead in the desert to prove a point that retribution is possible.
“You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position”, he said.
Apparently, they did. The Sands’ attack was believed to be at the hands of Iranian hackers, something the government in Iran is accused of supporting. A note left on the server by the hackers reading “Encouraging the use of Weapons of Mass Destruction, UNDER ANY CONDITION, is a Crime” supports that theory.
The attack didn’t do much more than severely cripple operations at The Sands, though, causing employees to use personal emails and cell phones to communicate. IT scrambled to pull cords from walls, and systems from the loyalty rewards program to those monitoring machine payouts went down. There was no bloodshed, but there was damage.
Like the Sony hack, political reasons seem to be the catalyst for such behavior, though states with interest in each hack aren’t taking responsibility.