Hackers attempted a cyber attack on Las Vegas in the early hours of Tuesday morning (4.30am Pacific Time), while the is hosting a huge global consumer tech show.
So far details are thing on the ground, leaving most commentators guessing as to the motivations behind the attack. The City’s official Twitter account stated that more would become clear over the next 24 hours. You can see the Tweet below.
One theory doing the rounds is that this attack is entirely financially motivated and the latest in a series of high profile ransomware campaigns. This attack follows a spate of recent hacking attempts which saw “ransomware gangs” extort hundreds of thousands of dollars-worth of Bitcoin in exchange for the return of data.
Back in June, CNN reported that officials in the Florida city of Riviera Beach paid 65 Bitcoins to ransomware attackers in exchange for the return of data. Those 65 Bitcoins were the equivalent of $600,000.
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If this is the nature of the attack, it’s easy to see how Las Vegas might be a temptingly lucrative target for ransomware-using criminals. Certainly, the ransom amount would be higher than somewhere like Riviera Beach.
Las Vegas is bettered prepared for such attacks than most US cities though, as an article in The Las Vegas Review Journal stated that the city defends itself from around 279,000 cyber attacks, on average, every month.
Right now, Las Vegas is very much in the limelight, as one of the world’s biggest technology trade shows is in full swing. The presence of CES in the city no doubt makes this cyber attack a more notable one. However, whether the attack is in any way linked to the presence of the CES show is unclear.
Stay tuned for more updates on this developing cyber threat to ‘Sin City’, the home of CES 2020.