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Casino operator's website hacked

The website of the Sands Casino Resort in

The website of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., was hacked and defaced sometime in early February 2014. These are the slot machines and electronic games in April 30, 2009. Credit: AP / Carolyn Kaster

Las Vegas Sands Corp., the world's largest casino operator, was attacked by hackers who defaced at least one company website and posted personal information about employees.

The unidentified intruders temporarily took over the home page of the Sands Casino Resort in Bethlehem, Pa., posting statements criticizing chairman and chief executive Sheldon Adelson, a staunch supporter of Israel, over comments he made about Iran and its nuclear program.

While a connection hasn't been proven, the attack could represent the first time Adelson's business empire has felt an impact from his high-profile positions on politics and foreign affairs. The 80-year-old Republican said in October the U.S. should bomb Iran with a nuclear missile to deter that country's nuclear ambitions, according to the New York-based Jewish Daily Forward newspaper.

Sands, based in Las Vegas, is working with law enforcement agencies to identify those responsible for the hacking, Ron Reese, a spokesman, said Tuesday via text message. The company is using internal and external experts to assess the damage and return the systems to full operation, he said.

In addition to the Bethlehem casino, Sands' corporate website and the sites of its resorts in Las Vegas; Macau, China; and Singapore all produced error messages yesterday. Some company emails weren't functioning.

The Nevada State Gaming Control Board will work with Sands to determine the cause, according to A.G. Burnett, chairman of the regulatory body.

"The risk of these things happening is certainly increased in this day and age and we will investigate it thoroughly," he said in an email.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation is aware of the situation and is "addressing it as appropriate," according to Bridget Pappas, a spokeswoman. She wouldn't say whether the bureau had an active investigation.

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