Iranian hackers were behind the shutdown of a major Las Vegas casino in February, wiping hard drives clean and stealing some customers’ Social Security and driver’s licence numbers in the process, Businessweekreported on Thursday.
The casino’s websites were also defaced with images condemning Las Vegas Sand Corp. owner, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, in retaliation to comments he had made about using nuclear weapons on Iran, NBC reported.
Businessweek notes that the incident was likely the first time hackers had targeted American corporate infrastructure on a large scale with the primary goal of destroying it (as opposed to stealing from it or spying on it). The only other comparable incident is the recent hack of Sony Pictures, which at least one expert argues was an act of war.
Las Vegas Sands Corp. is just one of many corporations to suffer a major data breach at the hands of cyber criminals. Target, Neiman Marcus, and
Home Depot were all attacked this year, as were Snapchat and Dropbox.
According to a report
released by US cyber security firm Cylance entitled “Operation Cleaver,” Iran has been developing its cyber technology for the sake of military readiness, so that in the event of a conflict it has the ability to shut down core facilities around the world.
The FBI recently warned US businesses to be wary of Iran’s sophisticated hacking operations, which have targeted defence contractors, energy firms, educational institutions and other critical infrastructure organisations in 16 countries.