EXCLUSIVE: Las Vegas escapes major cyberattack; Did hackers target CES 2020?

While hosting CES2020 from January 7 to January 10, the Las Vegas city suffered from a major cyberattack that took place on Tuesday, Jan 7

The city of Las Vegas which is hosting CES 2020 from January 7 to 10, has revealed that it was targeted with a serious cyberattack. After the identification of the cyber threat on Tuesday, the officials stated that they narrowly avoided a major security incident. But now the question is -- did the attackers target the high profile tech event?

In an official statement which was published on Wednesday, the officials stated that the compromise took place on Tuesday at around 4.30 am in the morning. The Las Vegas city later stated that the IT staff immediately detected the issues and took control to protect impacted systems.

The officials took several services offline, including the public website, which was still down for several hours. But they haven't disclosed any details about the nature of the incident, which came as the world's media descended upon the city for CES 2020.

Singapore universities cyber attack
Las Vegus cyber attack (Representational picture) Pixabay

The cyberattack on CES host city

In Twitter, the City of Las Vegas stated that it believes no data was stolen from its systems, and that no personal data was compromised. It also added that "Thanks to our software security systems and fast action by our IT staff, we were fortunate to avoid what had the potential to be a devastating situation."

However, the city officials have no lead on who was behind this cybersecurity incident. Currently, along with the officials, IT experts are also trying to find the source of the attack.

Was CES2020 the major target?

It should be noted that this the largest show of the year for the technology industry. Being one of the biggest conferences in US, CES2020 drew over 175,000 people and include 4,400 companies. In this event over half of Fortune 500 companies participate including tech giants such as Samsung, LG, Canon, Dell, Sony and other big stars from this industry.

Here it should be noted that this attack came as cities across the country suffer from an onslaught of hacks which are usually designed to make computers vulnerable for a ransomware attack.

CES2020 Twitter

When IBTimes SG reached out to Pieter Arntz, lead intelligence reporter at Malwarebytes Labs, he said that many ransomware "gangs" have been targeting cities and similar organizations for some time now since they expect them to be an "easy prey".

"However, this would not be the first time that cybercriminals have attempted to hinder CES2020. After all, Las Vegas is always bustling with activities and the city faces around a thousand attempts to breach its computer systems every day," Arntz added.

On the other hand, a spokesperson from Emsisoft has ruled out the possibility of making CES-2020 a target by stating that "I do not believe this incident poses a risk to CES. The incident, whatever it may have been, seems to have been detected early and a potentially 'devastating situation' averted."

Related topics : Cybersecurity Ransomware