This was no Ocean’s Eleven. The hackers were not trying to empty a vault of cash, nor were they after customer credit card data, This was personal. The Iranian perpetrators wanted to punish the billionaire Sheldon Adelson who said he would demonstrate a nuclear weapon for Iran to see!
The people who make the company work, from accountants to marketing managers, were staring at blank screens. “Hundreds of people were calling IT to tell them their computers weren’t working,” says James Pfeiffer, who worked in Sands’ risk-management department in Las Vegas at the time. Most people, he recalls, switched over to their cell phones and personal e-mail accounts to communicate with co-workers. Numerous systems were felled, including those that run the loyalty rewards plans for Sands customers; programs that monitor the performance and payout of slot machines and table games at Sands’ U.S. casinos; and a multimillion-dollar storage system.