Iranian Hackers Reportedly Exact Revenge on Casino Empire

Hacktivists believed to be operating from Iran launched a cyberattack on the Las Vegas Sands Corp. that shut down large sections of the casino company's computer networks earlier this year, according to an exclusive report this week in Businessweek. The attack, apparently precipitated by Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson's comments that the U.S. should use nuclear weapons to threaten Iran, could cost the company at least $40 million in repair and recovery efforts.

Dubbed "Yellowstone 1," the attack has until now been kept largely under wraps by the Sands Corp., Businessweek reporters Ben Elgin and Michael Riley wrote. The details they reveal in their article, however, indicate that the assault could be an indication of things to come, including the recent hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

"This is the next frontier of cyberwarfare," Elgin and Riley note. "If an enemy of the U.S. were to digitally target the country's electrical grid or natural gas pipelines, the president would consider a range of powerful responses, including military options, according to leaked descriptions of two executive orders signed by President Obama. But Las Vegas casinos don't deliver essential services to the U.S. population...."

Feb. 10 'Malware Bomb'

The first signs of a pending attack on the Sands organization came on Jan. 8, less than three months after Adelson -- speaking at a panel discussion on "Will Jews Exist?" at Yeshiva University in New York -- said he would put an end to any nuclear ambitions by Iran by detonating an atomic bomb in an unpopulated desert area of that country. He added: "And then you say, 'See? The next one is in the middle of Tehran."

The earliest attempts to break into the Sands' networks involved brute-force attacks on the Sands Bethlehem in Pennsylvania, which uses computer systems separate from the company's flagship casino...

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