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Purported hackers of Las Vegas Sands websites surface, taunting

19 February 2014

LAS VEGAS -- Someone claiming to be the hackers who knocked Las Vegas Sands Corp. off the Internet for nearly a week has posted an 11-minute video purporting to show stolen internal company information and taunting the international casino operator.

The video was e-mailed to several media outlets and was posted to late Monday.

However, YouTube removed the video from the website before 3 p.m. Tuesday, “as a violation of YouTube’s policy on depiction of harmful activities.”

The video begins with images of news coverage of the hacking, which began on Feb. 11.

A few minutes in, the video showed what is described as internal information from Sands Casino Resort Bethlehem, the company’s casino in Bethlehem, Pa., as it was accessed by an outside party. The video appears to show passwords, employee files, and other private information about the casino and its workers.

Bubble quotes with the words, “Do you really think that only your mail server has been taken down?!! Like hell it has!!”, “So there!!!” and “Wow!” were superimposed on screens showing central server identification and proprietary information from the casino.

No person or a group has claimed responsibility for the video, which was posted by a person identified as Zhao Anderson.

Las Vegas Sands restored its web presence Monday with new websites scaled down from the damaged originals.

In a statement Tuesday, Las Vegas Sands spokesman Ron Reese said the company notified law enforcement of hacking last week, “within hours of discovering it.”

He said in an e-mail he was unfamiliar with the name used in posting the YouTube video.

“We have now determined that the hackers reached at least some of the company’s internal drives in the U.S. containing some office productivity information made up largely of documents and spreadsheets,” Reese said. “We have seen the video and are continuing to investigate what, if any, customer or additional employee data may have been compromised as part of the hacking.”

In addition to cutting off Internet access to the company’s Venetian and Palazzo resorts on the Strip, the hacking affected the Sands’ corporate website and sites for its Macau casinos, the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore, and the Sands Bethlehem.

The company is working with the FBI and U.S. Secret Service to investigate the attack.

Gaming Control Board Chairman A.G. Burnett said he has seen the video and it is being looked at by his investigators.

“We’re aware of it and we are looking into it,” Burnett said. “We’re still communicating with the company.”

Reese said Las Vegas Sands “has made progress in its efforts to return the company’s websites and affected internal systems in the U.S. to normal operation.” He said a portion of the company’s email was restored Friday.

“We continue to believe that the company’s core operating systems have not been impacted,” Reese said.

In the initial video images from the original cyber attack, hackers defaced the websites with images condemning Las Vegas Sands CEO Sheldon Adelson for comments he made last fall at Yeshiva University in New York about using nuclear weapons on Iran.

Adelson is an outspoken supporter of Israel and a generous donor to Republican candidates.

The hackers at one point referred to themselves as the “Anti WMD Team.”