MGM Hotel Resorts Cyber attack by Scattered Spider or BlackCat Ransomware

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On Monday, September 11th, 2023, MGM Resorts and Hotels, a colossal entity valued at over $14 billion, found itself in the crosshairs of a meticulously orchestrated cyber assault, effectively crippling the casino operator’s operations.

According to an online source, this audacious attack bore the hallmarks of a sophisticated malware-spreading group. The digital landscape is awash with two prevailing theories regarding the culprits behind this unprecedented breach. Reuters, in a report, pointed fingers at a hacking consortium known as “Scattered Spider,” attributing the attack that wrought havoc upon the hotel chain’s digital infrastructure to their malevolent handiwork.

Contrastingly, an enigmatic source from the depths of Telegram put forth the notion that the infamous BlackCat Ransomware, also known as Alphv, was the sinister force orchestrating this assault. They brazenly demanded a substantial, six-figure sum in thousands in exchange for the elusive decryption key.

MGM, in response to the turmoil, has officially involved law enforcement agencies, with the FBI leading the charge in investigating this high-stakes cyber incursion. The veil of secrecy shrouding the incident is expected to lift in due course, as the authorities delve deeper into their probing.

Amidst the swirling speculations and uncertainty, one resolute fact stands stark: the casino gaming juggernaut remains steadfast in its refusal to bow to the demands of these cyber malefactors.

A parallel narrative circulating in the wake of this cyber onslaught centers on the nefarious technique known as “Vishing” or Voice/VOIP Phishing. In this method, hackers meticulously sift through LinkedIn profiles to identify an unwitting employee within the target organization, often a manager. Armed with their contact details, the assailants place a convincing call, posing as a client or business partner, coaxing sensitive information like banking credentials or account passwords from their unsuspecting target.

In the case of the MGM Cyber Attack, this insidious stratagem was deployed with precision. The Alphv ransomware operatives infiltrated the company’s help desk, engaging in a clever ruse to extract sensitive digital account login details, thereby gaining control over the entire network.

As of now, the identity of the assailants remains veiled in ambiguity. However, one chilling detail has been confirmed: this audacious attack unfolded through a mere ten-minute phone call, underscoring the alarming audacity and sophistication of modern cyber threats.

NOTE- As per Moody’s analysis, the incident might put a severe denture to the credit rating of MGM Hotel Resorts in near future.

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Naveen Goud is a writer at Cybersecurity Insiders covering topics such as Mergers & Acquisitions, Startups, Cyber Attacks, Cloud Security and Mobile Security

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