Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and casino magnate Sheldon Adelson.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
While Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has refused to rule out a military strike against Iran, it appears that the Islamic Republic's cyber warriors launched a preemptive strike of their own against one of the premier's stalwart allies.
Iranian hackers unleashed a withering cyber attack on the Las Vegas Sands Corp, the world’s largest operator of casinos and a property of the avowedly pro-Israel billionaire and Netanyahu backer Sheldon Adelson, earlier this year, according to a report by Bloomberg News.
The attack cost the company some $40 million in damages due to the technological meltdown that resulted in loss of key data, according to the report.
According to the report, the attack was launched on February 10 of this year.
"Sands was under a withering cyber attack," Bloomberg News reported. "PCs and servers were shutting down in a cascading IT catastrophe, with many of their hard drives wiped clean. The company’s technical staff had never seen anything like it."
Casino officials said that the goal of the attack was not to perpetrate a heist. Instead, “it was personal.”
Adelson has in the past made statements advocating for a hawkish Israeli and American policy toward Iran and its nuclear aspirations.
The hackers who intruded into the Sands computer system sought to "punish" Adelson for his public - and quite controversial - stance, according to officials.
During an appearance on a panel at Yeshiva University last year, Adelson, who has sought to wield influence in Israel by virtue of his position as owner of the newspaper Israel Hayom, suggested that the US should use nuclear weapons on Iran to impose its demands from a position of strength.
Asked by moderator Rabbi Shmuley Boteach whether the US should negotiate with Iran if it were to cease its uranium enrichment program, Adelson retorted, “What are we going to negotiate about?”
Adelson then imagined what might happen if an American official were to call up an Iranian official, say “watch this,” and subsequently drop a nuclear bomb in the middle of the Iranian desert.
"Then you say, ‘See! The next one is in the middle of Tehran. So, we mean business. You want to be wiped out? Go ahead and take a tough position and continue with your nuclear development. You want to be peaceful? Just reverse it all, and we will guarantee you that you can have a nuclear power plant for electricity purposes, energy purposes’," Adelson said.