The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is one of the largest trade shows in the technology industry in a year and one of the largest conference-oriented events in the United States. Last year, CES attracted more than 175,000 people and 4,400 companies, with more than half of the Fortune 500 companies participating. However, it may also be the best time for hackers to make a big deal. Las Vegas was reportedly hit by a surprise cyber attack in the early hours of Tuesday morning local time.
Las Vegas officials later mentioned the incident on Twitter, but did not say which systems were affected or how the attack occurred, though media outlets said it was an email attack. Officials say they have detected the attack early and killed a potentially dangerous situation, with no data lost from their systems or any data being taken.
Cyberattacks are common in the United States, where it is common to hijack computer systems for ransom. More than 70 state and local governments were reported to have been attacked last year, with the government the main target, accounting for two-thirds of all known cyberattacks in the United States last year, and malware had also attacked hospitals, businesses and universities.
As one New York official put it, the impact could be “catastrophic”, disrupting communications, cutting off access to important documents, and slowing the pace of city offices in terms of regulatory licensing and regulation. Instead of spending millions of dollars to rebuild lost information, local governments often choose to pay hackers to regain their systems.