In early September, MGM Resorts International faced a severe cyberattack that left its operations in disarray for days. The incident shed light on the vulnerabilities that even large corporations can face in the digital age and served as a stark reminder of the importance of robust cybersecurity measures. Let’s delve into the details of the MGM cyber attack and explore what businesses, both large and small, can learn from it to better protect their digital assets.
The Cyber Attack Explained
On September 5, 2023, MGM Resorts International found itself reeling from a crippling cyber attack that disrupted its operations, primarily affecting its Las Vegas hotels. The attack, which targeted the company’s computer systems, forced MGM to shut down its booking and reservation systems, leaving guests stranded and causing widespread chaos.
It is believed that the attack was attributed to the Scattered Spider, and they used ransomware made by ALPHV, or BlackCat. This group carried out the attack for five days, which is estimated to have cost MGM up to $80 million in revenue. Social engineering played a significant role in what happened with MGM Resorts. The threat actors likely used deceptive tactics to manipulate individuals within the organization, such as employees or third-party vendors, into divulging sensitive information or clicking on malicious links. This manipulation could have facilitated initial access to MGM’s systems, allowing the ransomware group to infiltrate and encrypt critical data. This incident underscores the evolving and sophisticated nature of cyber threats faced by organizations today, emphasizing the importance of robust cybersecurity measures and proactive security strategies to defend against such attacks.
Key Takeaways for Businesses
- The Importance of Cybersecurity Layers: One of the key lessons from the MGM cyber attack is the critical importance of recognizing that relying on a single security measure is not enough to protect against sophisticated cyber threats. MGM’s breach serves as a stark reminder of this fact. Businesses must adopt a comprehensive approach to cybersecurity by implementing multiple layers of defense. This can include firewalls, intrusion detection systems, endpoint security solutions, and robust employee training programs.
- Regular security audits and updates: Cyber threats evolve rapidly, and businesses must stay proactive in identifying and addressing vulnerabilities. Regular security audits and system updates are essential to ensuring that a company’s defense mechanisms are up-to-date and capable of fending off modern threats.
- Incident Response Plan: MGM Resorts International faced significant chaos during the cyberattack, highlighting the need for a well-defined incident response plan. Businesses should have a clear protocol in place to respond swiftly and effectively in the event of a breach. This includes communication plans to keep stakeholders informed and minimize damage.
- Employee training and awareness: Human error is a significant factor in many cyber incidents. Employees may inadvertently click on phishing emails or use weak passwords, making it easier for attackers to gain access to systems. In the case of MGM, hackers appear to have employed social engineering by impersonating employees and making a fraudulent call to the service desk. Regular cybersecurity training and awareness programs can help employees recognize and respond to potential threats effectively.
- Third-party risk management: Just weeks before the MGM breach, another Las Vegas casino fell victim to a serious ransomware incident. Caesars Entertainment says their customer data was accessed following an attack on an unnamed third-party IT vendor. Businesses must assess and manage the cybersecurity risks associated with their ecosystem of suppliers, partners, and service providers to mitigate external vulnerabilities.
Electric offers a Solution
Electric offers a comprehensive IT security solution that can help businesses fortify their defenses against cyberattacks like the one that targeted MGM Resorts. With Electric’s IT security enhancements, businesses can:
- Implement robust cybersecurity layers: Electric provides tools and expertise to help businesses establish multi-layered security strategies, enhancing protection against a wide range of threats.
- Continuous Monitoring and Threat Detection: Electric’s platform offers continuous monitoring and real-time threat detection to identify and respond to potential security breaches promptly.
- Automated Patch Management: Electric automates the process of patching and updating systems and software, reducing vulnerabilities and the risk of exploitation.
- Incident Response Support: Electric assists in developing and executing incident response plans, ensuring businesses can effectively respond to security incidents.
- User Training and Awareness: Electric can provide training and resources to educate employees about cybersecurity best practices, reducing the risk of human error leading to security breaches.
By leveraging Electric’s IT security enhancements, businesses can proactively strengthen their cybersecurity posture, mitigating the risk of cyberattacks and the potentially devastating consequences they can bring. Learn more about Electric’s IT security solutions here.