Expert Believes MGM Potentially Confronted With Ransomware Attack

Posted on: September 13, 2023, 09:49h. 

Last updated on: September 13, 2023, 09:49h.

MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM) is still grappling with the aftermath of a significant cybersecurity breach. While the casino operator has not made an official statement, it is speculated that the incident bears resemblance to a ransomware attack.

MGM hack
An expert says the cyberattack affecting MGM is likely one of the ransomware variety. (Image: iStock/Getty)

Ransomware attacks involve hackers holding an organization’s computer systems hostage and demanding payment. As the gaming industry and other sectors increasingly prioritize data protection and rely on technology, the profitability of ransomware attacks continues to rise.

If past performance is any indication, there is a possibility that MGM may pay the ransom if there are no alternative options,” stated Fergal Lyons, a cybersecurity expert with Centripetal, in comments provided to “Cybercriminals are capitalizing on vulnerabilities and exploiting careless employees, finding ransomware to be a lucrative industry.

On Tuesday, MGM issued a statement acknowledging a cybersecurity issue affecting certain systems. The company is collaborating with law enforcement, but it did not explicitly mention the term “ransomware” or reveal any financial demands from the hackers.

If MGM Pays Ransom, It Must Disclose to Investors

If it is confirmed that MGM has fallen victim to a ransomware attack and a ransom is paid, the company must disclose this information to investors as it is publicly traded. The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has recently implemented this requirement.

The SEC mandates disclosure of cyber breaches causing financial loss within four days after confirmation of the material impact. The determination of “material” is not defined by specific monetary guidelines.

Given the abundance of sensitive personal data in the travel and leisure industry, it does not come as a surprise that a gaming company has become the target of a large-scale cybersecurity breach. Cybersecurity experts emphasize the need for the tourism industry to allocate resources towards fortifying its cybersecurity infrastructure.

“As the sector plays a crucial role in enhancing guest experiences and facilitating global connectivity, it becomes an attractive target for cybercriminals seeking financial gain or malicious exploitation,” added cybersecurity expert Erfan Shadabi of comforte AG.

Increased Cybersecurity Investment for Companies

Cybercriminals are continuously evolving their techniques to target corporations and governments, necessitating proactive spending on cybersecurity measures. Experts suggest that approximately 9% to 14% of corporate technology budgets should be allocated to cybersecurity.

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