Online Systems Back to Regular Operations at MGM Days After Cyber Attack

Jessica Aletor
By:
Jessica Aletor
26/09/2023/
Industry
Slots 7

Highlights

  • MGM Resorts has now announced that its computer systems are back to full and normal operations some 10 days after a cyber-attack.
  • Two groups have since claimed responsibility for the ransomware attack which infiltrated MGM Grand Detroit systems.
  • Authorities at MGM are yet to respond to questions about the financial impact of the cyber-attack on the brand’s casino.

MGM did not have the best start to September, as, midway into the month, the brand was struck by a devastating cyber-attack. For over a week, computer systems, ATMs, point-of-sale terminals, and hotel reservation systems at the resorts were inaccessible. This ransomware affected MGM Grand Detroit in Michigan and retail gaming venues in six other states across the US, causing them to operate a partial capacity.

However, about 10 days after the attack, MGM Resorts announced that their systems were back up. This meant that freeplay which was previously unavailable at casinos could now be accessed. Here’s all we know about the cyber threat and how it was curtailed.

Two Groups Claim Responsibility for Cyber Attack on MGM Casinos

Days after the attack, two groups claimed responsibility for the attack on MGM cyber operations. The first is named Scattered Spider and is said to have been established in May 2022 by a group of 19 to 22-year-olds. Also known as Muddled Libra, this hacking group also claimed responsibility for hacking Caesars Entertainment’s operations, receiving a $15 million ransom in the process.

According to the group, it bypassed multi-factor authentication tech embedded in MGM’s system by obtaining one-time passwords and staff login credentials. They also claim to have targeted MGM because of an alleged attempt by the company to rig slot machines.

The second group calls itself ALPHV and is a software development team which specializes in ransomware as a service. ALPHV was said to have collaborated with Scattered Spider to stage the attack which sent many MGM systems offline. MGM, in a Form 8-K report submitted to the SEC on the second day of the incident, highlighted that it shut down free credits, on-site ATMs and remote room keys during the attack.

Unlike Caesars, it is unclear if MGM paid any ransom to free up its systems and protect sensitive data. Regardless, the FBI has launched a full-swing investigation into the attack.

Why BetMGM Remained Unaffected by the Ransomware

There were mixed feelings about the hack, but customers at BetMGM Online Casino Michigan generally felt relief as the hack did not affect the site. Apparently, BetMGM’s online betting operations are hosted over a different server. This meant the hackers could not get access to BetMGM Michigan computers and there was no need to shut down activities. Several calls to the casino’s customer service desk also confirmed that the online site was up and running. 

Online Systems Back in Full Swing While MGM Evades Questions About Financial Impact

In a release published on X (formerly Twitter) and the company’s official website, MGM Resorts officially announced that it was back to full operations.

We are pleased that all of our hotels and casinos are operating normally. Our amazing employees are ready to help guests with any intermittent issues. We thank you for your patience and look forward to welcoming you soon, the statement read.

Slot Dollars and FREEPLAY, which were unavailable in previous weeks due to the data breach have also become available at MGM properties. However, MGM rewards redemption and promos may be unavailable for a while, according to the official release.

During the operational shutdown, MGM customers at physical outlets had to be paid their winnings from slots manually. Eyewitness accounts state that this happened in Nevada, Michigan, and Massachusetts. But per the statement, these issues have now been resolved. 
However, MGM Grand Detroit continues to leave its customers in the dark about the financial implications of the breach. The casino has not responded to calls or emails about this subject, but several reporters claim that the gaming outlet has had lower than normal visitors.

Although it is tough to estimate the financial losses, judging by Caesars Entertainment experience, it may be running into tens of millions. BetMGM Grand Detroit is arguably Michigan’s retail casino business. It has generated over $400 million in monthly revenue from January to August 2023. If the financial implications are significant, the casino can expect a hit in its monthly revenue.

Pending the time when the casino publishes an official statement or the Michigan Gaming Control Board publishes new monthly revenue figures for Detroit, one can only hope that irretrievable personal and confidential information of clients are secure subsequently at casino operators.

Jessica is a news contributor to Gamble Online Michigan. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Economics but has over three years of experience working in the hospitality and gambling industry. Despite her core finance and investment banking background, she has been a casino feature writer for N1 Interactive Limited and multiple gambling affiliate sites. Her work has been featured on the bet365 blog, casino.zone and Max Force Racing. She spends her time between Michigan and California, staying up-to-date on the latest industry developments