A February 2014 cyber attack against casino operator Las Vegas Sands Corp. crippled thousands of servers across the company's network by wiping them with highly destructive malware, Bloomberg Businessweek reported on Thursday.
The attack cost the company more than $40 million in equipment costs and data recovery, according to reports.
Investigators hired by the company have determined that the attack was conducted by hacker activists to punish its chief executive officer and largest shareholder, billionaire Sheldon Adelson, for comments he made about detonating a nuclear bomb in Iran, Blooomberg reported. It cited a report written by investigators with cybersecurity firm Dell SecureWorks.
While Las Vegas Sands had previously disclosed it was the victim of a significant cyberattack in February, the company has not discussed involvement by Iranians or the use of destructive software in the attack, which it had said shut down its websites for a week.
Company spokesman Ron Reese declined comment on the details contained in the Bloomberg report. "I'm not going to confirm anything that was speculated or written in the Bloomberg story," Reese said.
If the use of the destructive software is confirmed, it would mark one of only two known cases on U.S. soil where a company has been attacked with that type of "wiper" malware, which makes computers inoperable by wiping out all data on their hard drives. The other case was the high-profile attack on Sony Corp.'s Hollywood studio, which was only uncovered last month.
Officials with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Homeland Security also declined comment. Both agencies are investigating the Sony case. A representative with Dell SecureWorks could not be reached.