Slot machines encrypted by ransomware; multiple hotels in Las Vegas affected

A new incident has caught the attention of information security enthusiasts and professionals. According to reports from the Game Control Board in Nevada, US, slot machines at two casinos in Las Vegas remained out of service due to a possible case of ransomware infection. 

The two affected casinos are Four Queens Hotel & Casino and Binion’s Casino; both casinos remained open during the incident, although the slots were completely out of service. The websites of both hotels/casinos also remained offline.

Four Queens’ staff even placed some signs at the entrance, mentioning: “Computer systems are down; cash only.” Slot machines also show signs indicating that they are out of service. Even some testimonials posted on social media show the casinos completely empty due to the inactivity of the systems of the affected companies.

Although neither the Game Board nor the casinos have revealed further details, the features of this incident indicate that it is a ransomware attack; in case the affected casinos decide to pay the cybercriminals, the operations could be restored as soon as possible.

According to various computer security firms, Las Vegas is one of the cities with the most cyberattacks recorded annually in the US. A few days ago, MGM Grand revealed a data breach that exposed the personal information of at least 10 million guests; Golden Entertainment also went through a similar computer security incident recently.

It is also worth mentioning that ransomware is one of the most common attack variants; during 2019, nearly a thousand government organizations, academic institutions and private companies reported encryption malware infections, a phenomenon that caused million-dollar losses, especially as of the second half of last year.