Focus on Light & Wonder: Enhancing cybersecurity protections with iVIEW Guard

April 23, 2024 8:00 AM
Photo: Shutterstock
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports
April 23, 2024 8:00 AM
  • Buck Wargo, CDC Gaming Reports

As the gaming industry becomes more vulnerable to organized cyberattacks, Light & Wonder has taken steps to protect its customers with its iVIEW Guard.

Cybersecurity made global headlines last fall when MGM Resorts International was hacked and had computer systems at its properties across the country impacted for days at a cost of $100 million. Caesars Entertainment was also hacked, but paid the ransom and avoided system shutdowns.

“Cybersecurity hasn’t been very public in the past,” said Jon Wolfe, President of Global Systems and Services for Light & Wonder, who said the industry has been under attack for a long time. “One of the things that we’ve been listening to our customers about is how we can better protect our systems and better protect casino floors.”

iVIEW Pro is a player interface that displays dynamic marketing animations and video with instant response, through a state-of-the-art multi-touch display. It plays a lot of different roles in the casino around managing the customer relationship and being a point of engagement, Wolfe said.

Light & Wonder’s iVIEW sits inside the gaming device, Wolfe said. That seemed like the logical place to start and provide great protection embedded into its solutions at the most critical touchpoint for the player, he added.

“We’re not cybersecurity experts, and we’re concerned like everyone else, so we started looking at who we are going to partner with,” Wolfe explained. “You have great companies putting out great products, and we like to do best-in-class partnerships. We have a partner and it’s their software solution we embedded. They’re an award-winning company with a great reputation, so we worked with them to implement their proactive cybersecurity solution into our iVIEW. Every iVIEW has a piece of this software running on it, and you can monitor your entire floor in real time. If something does happen and somebody is able to get into the network, it immediately quarantines it so it doesn’t spread across your network and create business outages and problems.”

Wolfe said people wonder how something can get into that level of the game, and there are many reasons why that happens. Sometimes, people do the wrong things for the right reasons.

“They cut corners and may plug a USB drive in and run the risk of corrupting the game,” Wolfe said. “When that happens, it spreads very rapidly through the floor network, so that’s why we want that level of protection there – because sometimes it’s not necessarily a hacker coming in. We all go through training at our various companies to try and be aware and prevent missteps we might make, but people are still people and make mistakes. Sometimes they cut corners with the best of intentions to try and fix something or get a game back in service and make a mistake.”

iVIEW Guard protection is for the remote chance something happens.

“It’s protection,” said Wolfe. “As we know, cleaning up after these things can be quite messy and quite expensive. This is a very small investment to make for an awful lot of protection – your customer data, your customer itself and your game that’s attached to that ID.”

Light & Wonder is working with multiple companies on cyber protection, Wolfe shared, and it’s their goal to have partnerships with cybersecurity experts that are best-in-class and award-winning.

“They are the experts, and we’re not,” Wolfe said. “Our job is to cement really good partnerships. We’re making sure we’re malleable and that we support everybody’s cybersecurity strategy. It is not necessary to pick one solution and force it on the industry. We want to dovetail on their strategy rather than driving our own strategy.”

One of the reasons the gaming industry is a target right now is because of the technology on the casino floors, said Wolfe. There’s some older technology that has not been updated in a long time, and the industry has a lot of cash.

There’s been a lot of focus on cybersecurity since last fall’s attacks, and while people were normally reluctant to talk about those incidents in the past, it has created a greater call to action with best practices, Wolfe said.

“We’re adopting a lot of best practices to make our software more secure and more hardened,” he reported. “It’s been a great wakeup call for the industry. It’s not great that it happened, but, typically, radical change and awareness follows an incident like that. I would say that’s happening and a lot of people are really taking a wider look at their cybersecurity approach across all of their systems and not just their gaming systems.

This is vital because the iVIEW Pro is Light & Wonder’s biggest point-of-sale opportunity and point of engagement with the customer, Wolfe said.

“We deliver a lot of great customer experiences through that device, but it was also at the point we felt we needed to provide solid protection as well,” he noted. “The iVIEW is a versatile device really focused on the customer from an entertainment perspective and from a protection perspective. That’s what makes it unique and why it’s been a focus for our investment for a lot of years – and it’s going to play a bigger role in our future.”