The casino is “pretty certain” it wasn’t hacked.
The annual DEF CON hacking convention returned once again to Las Vegas this weekend, and with it came the typical good-natured mischief that’s bound to happen when thousands of cybersecurity professionals congregate in one spot. Early Saturday morning at the Linq casino, however, looked to be something else entirely.
It was around 1:00 or 2:00 a.m. and DEF CON attendee Matt Anderson was hanging out at the Linq — a casino just across the street from Caesars Palace, the convention’s host — when it happened: Dozens of slot machines went down, all at once.
“I talked to a pit boss about it who was kind of panicking,” Anderson told us. “No one else knew what was happening, but ALL slots were dead/errored out.”
Video he shot and sent to Mashable shows practically every single machine in sight either offline completely or showing some form of error message. The silence on the casino floor is eerie.
And he wasn’t the only one who noticed. One person, whose Twitter bio lists her as being an anthropology major at Arizona State, tweeted about the experience.
All the slots are down in The Linq?? So we’re all sitting here waiting for our money and while I only have $10 I WANT MY MONEY … or a free drink cause this is a buzz kill
— YA Penny (@gwenHines_) August 11, 2018
A Linq spokesperson told us the casino is investigating the incident, and while the cause isn’t yet known, he said they viewed the outage coinciding with one of the world’s largest hacker conventions happening literally across the street is “purely coincidental.”
“We were monitoring what happened when the Linq slots machines went down,” spokesperson Rich Broom explained Sunday afternoon over the phone. “No evidence whatsoever that there was a hack or [it was] cybersecurity related.”
And yet, even Broom admitted that the situation was — shall we say — atypical.
“Machines periodically, although not very often, do go down,” he said. When we asked exactly how many machines went down at the Linq Saturday morning, Broom was unable to tell us.
We’re guessing the number, whatever it is, is substantially higher than what’s typical. Although, if another outage just so happens to coincidentally coincide with next year’s DEF CON, we may have to revise that statement.