Hackers breached the websites of all Las Vegas Sands Corp. casinos on
Tuesday morning, and the home pages of some of the world's largest
casinos remained down through the day.
The Nevada State Gaming Control Board was investigating the breach, and the FBI was also aware of the matter.
got error messages when they tried to visit the home pages of the
Venetian casino, famous for its ersatz canals, and the Palazzo casino,
which is next door on the Las Vegas Strip. The company's corporate site
was also hacked, as were websites for Sands casinos in Bethlehem, Pa.,
Singapore, and the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau.
Sands spokesman Ron Reese said the company was working with law
enforcement to determine who was behind the hacking, and assessing the
damage. The company could not say whether customer credit-card records
had been breached.
Last December, Las Vegas-based casino operator
Affinity Gaming announced that its credit-card transactions had been
hacked and warned its 300,000 customers to take steps to protect
themselves from identity theft.
FBI spokeswoman Jenny Shearer
confirmed that the agency was aware of the problems with the Sands
sites, but she declined to say whether the FBI had launched an
investigation. Las Vegas police spokesman Larry Hadfield said he was not
aware of the issue.
The Morning Call in Allentown, Pa., posted
screenshots of the sites before they were taken down that showed a
picture of Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson posing with Israel Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu and a message condemning the use of weapons of mass
The sites featured a list of confidential employee information and Social Security numbers, according to the Morning Call.
The hackers also disrupted some of Sands' internal systems, leaving employees without access to their company email accounts.
Adelson, who is known for having a fiery personality, has been outspoken in his support for Israel.
October, he floated the idea of dropping a nuclear bomb on Iran, saying
strength was the only thing the country understands. During a forum at
Yeshiva University in New York City, he imagined what might happen if
the U.S. began negotiations over the country's nuclear program by
launching a strike on the Iranian desert.
"Then you say, See! The
next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to
be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your
nuclear development,' " he said.
The hackers, who signed their
work "Anti WMD Team," may be "hacktivists," or people who attack
websites to send a political message.
In 2010, the
loosely-affiliated group Anonymous hacked major credit card sites,
including Visa Inc., after the companies declined to process donations
to WikiLeaks. In 2012, hackers targeted Sony Corp. in response to
company's support for anti-piracy measures.
Other Las Vegas-based casino companies reported no problems with their sites Tuesday.