Las Vegas Sands Corp. (LVS:US), its websites down for a third day after a cyber-attack by hackers, said it was making progress toward restoring service and repairing its internal systems in the U.S.
“While we have been able to confirm that certain core operating systems were not impacted by the hacking, the company remains focused on working through a step-by-step process to ascertain what, if any, additional systems may have been impacted,” Las Vegas Sands said yesterday in an e-mail.
Sands, the world’s largest casino operator, is working with local, state and federal law enforcement investigating the attack, which disabled the company’s e-mail system and took over its websites. Attackers defaced the home page of Sands’ Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, casino on Feb. 11, posting employees’ personal information and criticizing Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of Israel, over his comments on Iran’s nuclear plans.
Visitors to casino websites in Las Vegas, Pennsylvania and Macau, China, at first received an error message. The company kept the sites down yesterday, with messages saying they were undergoing maintenance and providing phone numbers for the properties.
On the home page of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem Feb. 11, intruders posted a photograph of Adelson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A graphic showed a map with fires in the locations of Sands hotels in the U.S.
The attackers displayed personal information of Sands employees, showing a scroll with names, e-mail addresses and Social Security numbers until the site was taken down.
Nevada State Gaming Control Board investigators are working with Sands to determine the cause, A.G. Burnett, chairman of the regulatory body, said in an interview. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is addressing the situation, according to Bridget Pappas, a spokeswoman. The U.S. Secret Service is also involved, according to the Associated Press.
The company hasn’t reported a motive for the break-in. Based on preliminary indications, no credit-card information was taken, Burnett said today.
Sands, based in Las Vegas, rose 0.2 percent to $78.94 at 2:23 p.m. in New York. The shares are little changed this year.
While a connection hasn’t been proven, the attack could represent the first time Adelson’s business empire has felt an impact from his high-profile positions on politics and foreign affairs. The 80-year-old Republican said in October the U.S. should bomb Iran with a nuclear missile to deter that country’s nuclear ambitions, according to the New York-based Jewish Daily Forward newspaper.
Adelson, the world’s 10th-wealthiest person with a $37.2 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, was the largest individual donor to political action committees and other independent groups in the 2012 election cycle, according to OpenSecrets.org, which tracks spending. He is also campaigning against the spread of online gambling.
His October comments came in a panel discussion at Yeshiva University in New York. Ron Reese, a spokesman for Sands, later said the statements were “hyperbole,” according to the Daily Forward.
Politically motivated hackers have targeted companies in the past.
In 2012, Sony Corp. was targeted over its support for Hollywood-backed anti-piracy measures in the U.S. Congress. In late 2010, the hacker group Anonymous took credit for taking down the websites of Mastercard Inc. (MA:US) and Visa Inc., as revenge for the payment processors’ decision to suspend use of their networks for donations to WikiLeaks, the organization that publishes secret documents.
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