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Tuesday 23 September 2014

Casino hackers took punters' data

Published 01/03/2014 | 02:22

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The Las Vegas Strip

Hackers stole the personal information of tens of thousands of Las Vegas Sands customers during a huge cyber-attack, it has emerged.

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The casino company said in a regulatory filing that information about some patrons at its Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, hotel-casino was compromised during the February 10 attack.

Spokesman Ron Reese said the number of customers affected was in the mid-five-figure range, as far as the company could tell so far.

Examples of the kinds of legally-protected data that were stolen include social security and driving licence numbers. An informational website Sands has set up warns that credit card information and bank account information may also have been stolen.

The company is providing credit monitoring and identity theft protection to customers affected by the hacking.

A mailing database similar to something a direct marketing firm would use was also stolen, Sands said.

Sands said it was still working to determine whether customer information from other properties was breached, a process made more time-consuming by the destruction the hackers wrought. The company runs the Italian-themed Venetian and Palazzo on the Las Vegas Strip, and several hotel-casinos in China and Singapore.

In its statement, Sands noted that the number of patron accounts that were compromised made up fewer than 1% of all visitors to the Bethlehem casino since its 2009 opening. It has set up a website and free phone number for concerned customers.

The Las Vegas-based company pulled down its corporate and individual hotel websites on February11 after hackers defaced them with images condemning comments Sands chief executive Sheldon Adelson had made about using nuclear weapons on Iran.

The hackers also posted social security numbers for Sands' Bethlehem employees.

It took the company nearly a week to get the sites back up. The hacking also crippled internal systems and left corporate employees without access to their computers and email accounts for days.

Last week an anonymous video surfaced that appeared to catalogue additional information stolen during the hacking, including administrator passwords for slot machine systems and player information at the Bethlehem casino.

The FBI and Secret Service have been investigating the cyber-attack.

Sands, the world's largest casino company in terms of revenue and market value, also owns the world's largest casino in the Chinese gambling enclave of Macau. The company's net income was 2.31 billion dollars (£1.4bn) last year.

In an annual report filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission yesterday, Sands said the attack may have destroyed some company data. The filing said Sands was unable to estimate the loss that might result from the hacking, if any.

Customers concerned about the data breach can call Sands' information line at 866-579-2213 or visit http://www.sandsinfo.com.

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