Slot machines taken out of action
Two downtown Las Vegas casinos – Four Queens Hotel and Casino and Binion’s Gambling Hall – are recovering from a computer outage that affected their slot machines and other systems.
Slot machines were unable to print vouchers, which meant patrons were unable to request a withdrawal. However, it was business as usual at Binion’s on Monday afternoon. The websites of both casinos remain down, though.
Rows upon rows of slot machines were left with blue screens
Both casinos were forced to rely on cash games for revenue after their slot machines were taken out of action. Rows upon rows of slot machines were left with blue screens, with the casino floors being empty during this period. Many patrons said they had to pay for their hotel rooms in cash.
Issues began on February 27
The incident first came to light on February 27. To alert patrons, the Four Queens Hotel and Casino put up signs stating that computer systems were down and only cash would be accepted. Out of order messages were also displayed beside rows of slot machines.
Both of these casinos are owned by TLC Casino Enterprises. This parent company has yet to comment publicly on the issue.
Las Vegas is becoming a popular target
This is not an isolated incident in Las Vegas. In the last couple of years, there have been a number of notable cyber attacks on the city’s casinos.
MGM Resorts is fighting legal action over a data breach in the summer of 2019. This saw the personal data of 10.6 million of its guests getting leaked. The Golden Entertainment casino operator has also been the victim of a phishing operation.
Network access is main obstacle
Security researcher Dylan Wheeler discovered this particular vulnerability and contacted the FBI about it. He spoke to Computer Business Review about the potential damage that cyber attacks can inflict on a casino.
Wheeler said the main obstacle for a hacker who targets a casino is gaining access to the network. He said: “If you are inside their networks, and they don’t segregate their networks properly, you’ll be able to interact with all kinds of machines, from the slot machines to even the card shufflers and camera systems.”