In testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper confirmed that Iran was behind a cyber-attack against Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson’s Sands Corp. in 2014.
Sands Corp., which has an estimated value of $14 billion dollars, remains the “world’s largest gambling company,” Bloomberg reports.
Adelson—who is known for his generous expenditures towards Republican politicians’s presidential campaigns, along with his fervent support for the State of Israel—is Sands’s chairman and chief executive officer.
Director Clapper said that the Iran-sponsored cyber-attack, which took place on February 10, 2014, rendered many of Sands’s computer systems inoperable for an extended period of time. He said that the Iran attack, along with North Korea’s hacking of Sony Corp. in November, mark a new era in state-sponsored cyber-attacks against the United States.
“While both of these nations have lesser technical capabilities in comparison to Russia and China, these destructive attacks demonstrate that Iran and North Korea are motivated and unpredictable cyber-actors,” said Clapper.
Iran’s is considered by experts to be a top-tier cyber program, and perhaps a very close third place behind American adversaries Russia and China.
In December, reports surfaced that Iranian hackers had successfully infiltrated the United States critical infrastructure systems, some of which control the United States’s water, gas, and transit networks.
In another recent Iran-sponsored hack, Tehran’s cyber fighters recently breached a U.S. airport security network, according to a cybersecurity firm.
Cybersecurity company Cylance said of the Iranian hack:
We discovered over 50 victims in our investigation, distributed around the globe. Ten of the victims are headquartered in the US and include a major airline, a medical university, an energy company specializing in natural gas production, an automobile manufacturer, a large defense contractor, and a major military installation.