New Report Offers Insight On MGM Casino Hackers | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacker

A recent report by the Wall Street Journal is offering an inside look on the events surrounding the cyber security breaches in September that affected MGM Resorts casinos across the country.

The entire incident apparently began after a hacker called the company’s tech support team, posing as an employee, to request a password change. That led to a series of events that left the company’s computer systems crippled and ended up costing MGM an estimated $100 million.

“A few minutes later, the real MGM employee received a notification that his password had been reset and reported this to the IT department,” the report noted. “By then, it was too late. The hackers were in.”

Major Threat With Occasional Violent Tendencies

The small group of hackers behind the MGM events call themselves Star Fraud and derived from an online community called “the Com.” The group has become “one of the top cybersecurity problems facing the U.S.” according to the report.

Along with cryptocurrency heists, the group is also involved with sextortion schemes victimizing teenagers, breaches of Apple and Meta after disguising themselves as FBI agents, and even the stolen source code for an unreleased Grand Theft Auto video game, all while extorting millions of dollars from other companies.

The group, which is believed to be made up of hackers from the U.S., Canada, and the U.K., has even shown a willingness to resort to violence at times.

“They have hired criminals to throw Molotov cocktails or even fire guns at the homes of rivals,” the Journal reports.

Gaining Access

While many companies, including Caesars Entertainment, paid ransoms to recover access to their computer systems, MGM did not. As in the MGM case, Star Fraud targets tech support teams to gain access to a company’s computer systems. The group gained information about a company employee to gain access initially by “mining the vast troves of stolen and illegally available data on the internet.”

The hackers have used text messages to threaten employees with violence to gain access to their credentials. One text to a company employee victimized by the group, the text message said, “If we don’t get ur…login in the next 20 minutes, we’re sending a shooter to your house. Ur wife is gonna get shot if you don’t.”

Within two days, MGM was forced to shut down many of its systems, unable to book online reservations, pay out slot on slot machines, or process numerous transactions. The hackers asked for a ransom of $30 million but the company refused to pay. After days of being shut down and reformatting servers across the company, MGM eventually got operations back up and running smoothly. Despite the ordeal, CEO Bill Hornbuckle had no regrets on how the company responded.

“They didn’t get what they were looking for,” he said.

MGM isn’t the only gaming company to face hacking attempts recently. The Canadian company Gateway Casinos and Entertainment saw several properties shut down last year after a hacking attempt and an Arizona property also recently faced a similar issue.





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