Cyber Attack Strikes Sin City
The city of Las Vegas has notified the public of cybercrime event that took place in the early morning on Tuesday, Jan 8, 2020.
Las Vegas is potentially one of 2020’s first major targets for cybercrime. According to a tweet posted on the city’s official Twitter account, they experienced a “cyber compromise” at 4:30 AM on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2020. They are currently in the process of investigating the extent of the incident and plan to post more details when available.
Unfortunately, not much else is known right now. It is unclear what type of malware or cybercriminal tactic was used in the attack, and whether any data has been affected. This won’t be the city’s first time facing cybercrime – as reported in the Las Vegas Review Journal, Las Vegas deals with an estimated 279,000 attempted cybersecurity breaches each and every month.
There is a good chance that this was a ransomware attack, based solely on statistics. After all, 39% of malware-based data breaches worldwide were caused by ransomware in 2019. In the US alone, ransomware is extremely common:
- 500 schools were hit by ransomware in 2019
- 22 different organizations in Texas, many of which are local government agencies, were infected with ransomware in 2019
- Lake City paid out nearly $500,000 to hackers so they could get their data back. Similarly, the Riviera Beach City Council had to pay $600,000 for access to their data after a similar attack
That said, if the hackers did try to use ransomware to extort money out of the city of Las Vegas, it will not be easy for them. In July of 2019, the mayor of Las Vegas was instrumental in a new resolution from the United States Conference Of Mayors which had members unite in refusing to pay exactly this type of ransom.
Until further details about the incident are released, residents will have to hope the attack won’t affect their private data or the services the city delivers.