Suspected Leader MGM Hack Arrested in Spain

Suspected Leader MGM Hack Arrested in Spain

Spanish police have arrested a 22-year-old British man who is believed to be the leader of the Scattered Spider gang — the group behind the hack at MGM Resorts. The operation was a joint cooperation with the American FBI.

After a thorough investigation, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) was able to determine the identity of the hackers part of the ransomware gang Scattered Spider, which has extorted hundreds of companies.

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Paralysing cyberattack

The hackers have been blamed for a paralysing cyberattack in 2023 on the casino giant MGM Resorts which, in addition to its namesake, operates several properties in Las Vegas including Mandalay Bay, the Bellagio, the Cosmopolitan and the Aria.

At the end of last year, several major gambling operators fell victim to a hack by an international cybercrime group. Caesars, the first gambling company to fall victim to the hack, paid half of the ransom, a sum of $15 million (NZ$ 25m).

The same group also hacked MGM Resorts’ system. As a result, all the gambling company’s systems were down for more than a week, but MGM Resorts nevertheless decided not to respond to the hackers’ demands. MGM Resorts is said to have lost $110 million due to the digital attack.

Suspected Leader Arrested

Last week, Spanish police announced that they had arrested the suspected leader of the group behind the MGM hack. The press release states that the police investigation, in collaboration with the FBI, resulted in the arrest of a 22-year-old British man. The arrest took place at Mayat Palma airport. There the fugitive wanted to catch a plane to Naples.

According to police, the Brit was the leader of the organised group Scattered Spider, which was involved in the theft of information from companies and cryptocurrencies. The gang managed to get their hands on a total of 391 bitcoins with a total value of $27 million.

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Joint Spanish-American Operation

The hackers are known to use social engineering in order to get access to their target networks, including SIM swapping and carrying out phishing attacks. The arrest of the 22 year old leader of the hack group follows another suspected 19-year old hacker affiliated with the group, Noah Urban, being arrested in the American state Florida in January.

“National Police officers, in a joint operation with the American FBI in Madrid, arrested a cybercriminal responsible for the computer attack on 45 companies from different industries in the United States. The person under investigation, a 22-year-old man from the United Kingdom, is believed to be the leader of an organised group engaged in the theft of information from companies and cryptocurrencies and managed to obtain 391 bitcoins worth more than $27 million.”

Spanish Policía Nacional

The international gambling operator Caesars Entertainment announced in June that the company paid around $15 million (NZ$ 25m) as ransom.

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