Ransomware Attack Forces Six Oklahoma Casinos to Close

  • The tribes-operated casino properties will remain shut until the company resolves the issue
  • Lucky Star Casino has asked the FBI to investigate the attack it suffered along with other entities
  • The operator didn’t disclose ransom demands and is unsure if hackers accessed customer info
  • Different forms of cyberattacks are becoming more common among gambling-related companies
ransomware attack concept
Six Oklahoma casinos remain closed following a recent ransomware attack on their operator, Lucky Star Casino. [Image: Shutterstock.com]

Facilities staying shut for now

Six tribal casinos in Oklahoma have had to close in recent days following a ransomware attack. The Arapaho and Cheyenne Tribes of Oklahoma own and operate the six casinos through the Lucky Star Casino brand. The properties are in Canton, Watonga, Concho, Concho (El Reno), Clinton, and Hammon.

Lucky Star Casino has taken measures to try to counteract the attack that led to the closures. In an official statement on Monday, company officials wrote: “Lucky Star Casino has unfortunately joined the growing list of government agencies, businesses, and other casinos to be hit by a ransomware attack.” The company took to Facebook to publish the full statement:

Lucky Star first reported issues on June 18 in a Facebook post that said: “Due to internet disruption all Lucky Star Casinos will be temporarily closed.” All six of Lucky Star’s casinos in Oklahoma will remain shut until the operator resolves the matter.

The company will continue to pay its workers despite these closures while hoping that the casino operations will be able to resume in the coming days.

A ransomware attack sees hackers often using malware to exploit a weak point of a company or government agency. This malware will effectively put a lock on the system and the hackers will demand a ransom in return for the key.

Casinos a prime target

Officials at Lucky Star Casino have requested that the FBI investigate the ransomware attack. In response to inquiries from local media, the FBI stated that it cannot comment on the matter at this moment in time. It is also not yet clear what it is exactly that the hackers are demanding.

Cybercrime expert Teresa Rule explained why casinos are a target for hackers, saying: “The money is there and that’s why they are a prime target.” She outlined how certain casino establishments will just pay the ransom so they can resume their business, but this ultimately “just feeds the system.”

unclear whether the hackers got access to any personal information

Sometimes, cyberattacks can cause gamblers’ personal data to become exposed. Lucky Star Casino has already issued an apology to its customers and stated that it is unclear whether the hackers got access to any personal information.

A common occurrence in the gambling industry

It appears that nobody is safe. Government agencies all across the world have fallen victim to high-profile ransomware attacks.

In the United States, the country’s biggest gasoline pipeline shut down for almost a week in early May this year because of a similar attack. Colonial Pipeline ended up paying a $4.4m ransom to hackers to be able to get its operations back up and running.

Numerous gambling-related companies have been subject to various forms of cyberattacks in recent years. Casinos in Northern California and in downtown Las Vegas suffered such incidents last year, leading to the properties’ temporary closures.

Shortly before merging with DraftKings, B2B gambling solutions provider SBTech suffered an outage after an attempted cyberattack. The incident led to over 50 online gambling platforms having limited offerings for up to six days. SBTech had to create a $30m fund to cover claims from the operators that were affected by the attack.

Finally, personal data breaches have also become an issue in the gambling space. The personal information of over 257,000 OlyBet users was breached earlier this year following a cyberattack. The hacker in question then looked to sell the stolen data. A data breach at MGM Resorts International in 2019 reportedly led to hackers getting access to the personal information of more than 142 million hotel guests.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *