Review of Macau Casinos’ Cybersecurity in Response to Recent US Attacks

Posted on: September 18, 2023, 09:07h.

Last updated on: September 18, 2023, 09:08h.

Macau casinos have recently conducted extensive reviews of their cybersecurity systems in response to the cyberattacks faced by US operators MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment.

Macau casinos MGM Caesars cybersecurity
An aerial view of the Cotai Strip in Macau. Casino operators in the Chinese enclave are reviewing their cybersecurity safeguards following recent attacks on MGM Resorts and Caesars Entertainment in the US. (Image: Macau Magazine)

MGM’s US operations continue to face disruptions due to the cyberattack that targeted the company’s IT systems on September 10th.

Caesars Entertainment, however, decided to pay a ransom of around $15 million to protect its operations after its Caesars Rewards loyalty program was targeted by hackers in August.

Despite the attacks on MGM’s US casinos, its Macau resorts have not been affected as MGM China operates its own independent IT environment.

“MGM China operates our own independent IT environment and therefore we have not been affected by this incident,” an MGM China statement explained.

Nevertheless, Macau casino operators are on high alert in the wake of the cyberattacks on MGM and Caesars, which received significant media attention.

System Reviews

Asia Gaming Brief, a leading online media source for Asia Pacific gaming news, reported that Macau’s six casino companies have conducted comprehensive security checks on their IT systems following the incidents in the US.

MGM China, Sands China, Wynn China, Melco Resorts, Galaxy Entertainment, and SJM Resorts have all performed cybersecurity reviews to ensure the safety of their systems. These reviews are already a regular requirement under the Macau Cybersecurity Law.

The Cybersecurity Law, implemented in December 2019, mandates that industries deemed essential to the economy must meet specific conditions to protect critical infrastructure.

Casinos are included in these industries as they contribute a significant portion of tax revenue to the Macau government.

According to the cybersecurity law, each casino must establish a cybersecurity team and promptly report any IT security incidents or breaches to the Macau government. Additionally, third-party security assessments must be conducted annually.

Macau Attack

In the previous year, Macau’s hospitality and gaming sectors experienced a cyberattack. Law enforcement confirmed that at least 17 casino hotels were targeted in a phishing attack that began in November 2021.

Phishing attacks involve hackers sending fraudulent communications to an IT system, disguising them as legitimate requests from trusted sources within the organization. These communications typically aim to obtain sensitive data such as login information.

The Macau Cybersecurity Incident Alert and Response Center responded promptly to the attack, notifying casino and hotel operators throughout the region. This quick action likely prevented significant data theft. Hackers from South Korea were identified as the culprits behind the failed attack.

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