(707) 268-8850    Get SUPPORT

Network Management Services Blog

Hackers Target Major Sporting Events

Hackers Target Major Sporting Events

There are literally billions of sports fans in the world, and the popularity of these events brings in big money; and big money typically attracts hackers. Using all types of methods, there has been a history of hacking in almost every sport. Today, we take a look at some of the most famous hacks that have shaken up the sports world.

The World Cup
The FIFA World Cup is one of the, if not the, most popular sporting events in the world. Held once every four years, it attracts the attention of billions of people. Since the event is held every four years, it gives the host city a lot of time to get ready for possible hacker attacks. In fact, each new venue spends years and tens of millions of dollars ramping up on their cyber security.

The 2018 event held in Russia proved to be one of the most successful insofar as there wasn’t a major hack of the tournament in any way. It’s not a coincidence that typically state-sponsored Russian hackers are well known to be at the forefront of a lot of the major international sporting hacks. Fans that visited Russia from abroad during the World Cup were warned (mostly by their own governments) that they needed to be diligent not to fall into any tourist traps that would leave their cyber welfare in the hands of the thriving ecosystem of hackers that call Russia home.

Previously, in the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the World Cup website was taken down by a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack and thousands of visitors had their data breached through sophisticated phishing attacks. Each World Cup, especially the next one that will be held in the Middle East (Qatar) for the first time, is a goldmine for hackers.

The Olympic Games
International competitions like the Winter and Summer Olympic Games grab the eye of world for a couple of weeks. Unfortunately for athletes, coaches, and fans from all over the world, they also catch the eyes of hackers. Again, since these events are held every four years there is a long time for administrators to get ready, but that doesn’t stop those inside the host cities (or often outside of them) from trying to get over on the hundreds of thousands of people that show up to watch the events.

At the past Winter Olympics, held in Pyongyang, South Korea, the opening ceremonies were hacked by what turned out to be a Russian hacking collective. The hack caused delays in the festivities and infiltrated the games’ website, so administrators, fearing significant data loss, took down the website. Initially they had masked the attack as coming from North Korea, but it didn’t take long for professionals to ascertain that the hacks were retribution for Russia’s prohibition from the games as a result of a decade-long antidoping policy that found state-sponsored use of performance enhancing drugs; a revelation that many had suspected for decades.

While local hackers spoofed Wi-Fi and targeted athletes and guests during the 2016 Summer Olympics held in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil, Russian hackers from “Tsar Team” and “Fancy Bear” were busy hacking into the Olympic databases to gain access to athletes’ personal information. They subsequently have released some of that information, including information about gold medal gymnast Simone Biles, and tennis legend Venus Williams.

In the United States, it doesn’t get much bigger than the National Football League. In fact, one study showed that about one-third of all church-going males don’t go to church from Labor Day to New Years. Nearly 30 million people tune in to watch the NFL each Sunday. With this popularity comes attention; and hackers have used this popularity to their advantage.

In 2016 NFL commissioner Roger Goodell's Twitter feed was hacked with a message that announced that he had passed away. The perpetrator happened to be a teenager from Singapore. In February 2017, 1,135 NFL players had their personal information stolen by hackers when the NFL’s union, the NFLPA, was hacked. Hackers made off with 1,262 people’s personal information, their financial data, their home phone numbers, their addresses and more.

In 2009, a man named Frank Tanori Gonzalez was given an extremely lenient sentence for hacking into the standard-definition communications feed at Super Bowl XLIII with a clip from an adult film that aired unedited throughout the greater Tucson area (the game was held in Tampa, FL).

Major League Baseball makes over $10 billion a year, and they do a phenomenal job of protecting their brand online. MLB makes a lot of their money in media and has made it a point to prioritize cyber security for league business. With individual teams handling their own cyber security, there have been small hacking cases, but unlike most other sports the biggest hacking scandal in baseball history was carried out by a team executive.

From 2013 to 2014, St. Louis Cardinals’ former scouting director, Chris Correa, repeatedly accessed the internal communications server of former division foe Houston Astros. The Astros had moved to the American League from the National League after the 2012 season, and they had hired former statistician Sig Mejdal from the Cardinals. When Mejdal left St. Louis he turned in his laptop. Using the information he got off this laptop, Correa figured out Mejdal’s new password and started entering the Astros network. For his indiscretions Correa got 46 months in federal prison.

The most famous hack in NBA history is hack-a-Shaq, which was a strategy used to limit Shaquille O’Neal’s effectiveness by making him shoot free throws (with which he struggled mightily), but there have been a few other hacks that have affected NBA players. The most notable, was NBA player Ty Lawson having his computer hacked and held his personal data for ransom in 2016.

Another situation was what is called a catfishing scam that involved NBA forward Chris Andersen and model Paris Dylan. A woman named Shelly Chartier had used multiple people’s online messaging accounts to manipulate Anderson and Dylan into bad situations. Andersen ended up being raided by the Douglas County sheriff's department because Dylan was 17 at the time and any digital possession of lewd material would be legally considered child pornography. After investigators uncovered the scheme, Chartier was arrested and sentenced to 18 months in prison. Anderson continued his NBA career and Dylan was able to put the situation behind her and is now is an Internet model.

Recently, the PGA of America held the 100th PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club just outside of St. Louis, Missouri. As the golfers were navigating their first rounds, the PGA was under attack by hackers. A message was sent to administrators that read, “Your network has been penetrated. All files on each host in the network have been encrypted with a strong algorthym[sic].” The hackers also sent a Bitcoin wallet number with instructions on how to deposit money.

The PGA of America immediately hired a third-party IT security firm to solve the problem. Since security professionals from all over the world consider these extortion attempts to be futile against the diligence and expertise of security professionals, the line is usually to not pay and hope that the data can be recovered without the encryption key. Only time will tell how the situation is resolved.

Other sports leagues and athletes have had to deal with major problems from hackers over the years, including the English national rugby team’s website being hacked by the Islamic State in Syria (ISIS), and four-time Tour De France champion Chris Froome’s performance data was hacked as a rival team was convinced he was using performance enhancing drugs.

There are dozens of ways that you can fall victim to hackers. If your business isn’t already doing all it can to protect your digital assets, the time is now. Reach out to the IT professionals at Network Management Services for more information on the best way to protect your business from outside (and inside) threats at (707) 268-8850.

What Virtual Assistant Is Right for You?
Know Your Tech: A/B Testing


No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Saturday, February 16 2019

Captcha Image

Mobile? Grab this Article!

QR-Code dieser Seite

Tag Cloud

Tip of the Week Security Technology Cloud Best Practices Network Security Business Computing Privacy Managed IT Services Hackers Malware Data Backup Innovation Backup Hosted Solutions VoIP Mobile Devices Email Google Tech Term Data Recovery Outsourced IT Data IT Support Saving Money Internet of Things Internet Microsoft Cloud Computing IT Services Software Communications Hardware BDR Business Continuity Efficiency Cybersecurity Ransomware Business Smartphones Cybercrime Communication Small Business Artificial Intelligence User Tips Server Disaster Recovery Android Network Avoiding Downtime Computers Managed IT Services Save Money Managed IT Smartphone Windows Alert Gadgets How To Browser Router BYOD Miscellaneous Applications Social Media Business Management Money Business Intelligence Mobile Device Management Windows 10 Two-factor Authentication Data Security Data Protection Computer Chrome Workplace Tips Passwords Firewall Phishing Social Engineering Mobility Law Enforcement Vulnerability Productivity Collaboration Document Management Operating System Virtualization Word Office 365 Proactive IT IT Support Facebook Upgrade Spam VPN Identity Theft Flexibility Managed Service Provider Compliance Blockchain Redundancy Private Cloud Telephone Systems Budget Connectivity Remote Monitoring Productivity Bandwidth Update Big Data Value Website Unsupported Software Networking CES Data Storage Bring Your Own Device Servers Hacking Encryption Unified Threat Management Information Access Control Mobile Computing Content Management Paperless Office File Sharing Smart Tech Office Tips Spam Blocking Windows 10 Physical Security Mobile Device Automation Managed Service Government Wi-Fi Training Workers Credit Cards App Analysis Solid State Drive Google Drive Data loss OneNote Settings Holiday Comparison Virtual Assistant Password IT Management Apps Data Breach Quick Tips Business Owner Public Cloud Content Filtering Infrastructure Employer-Employee Relationship Windows 7 Microsoft Office Information Technology Work/Life Balance IT Plan Sports Data storage Cryptocurrency Hybrid Cloud Cast Password Manager Regulations Conferencing Education Customer End of Support Downtime Cables Devices Legal Hard Drives Risk Management iPhone Frequently Asked Questions Millennials Electronic Medical Records Network Congestion Digital Signature Machine Learning Computer Fan Skype Amazon Web Services Inventory Lifestyle Smart Office Recovery Monitor History Safe Mode IoT Save Time Business Mangement Addiction Internet exploMicrosoft Root Cause Analysis Botnet MSP Unified Communications Thought Leadership Excel Workforce IT Consultant HVAC YouTube FENG Start Menu Online Shopping HaaS Software Tips Supercomputer Office Google Docs Emergency Gmail Cache Cortana Flash Strategy Advertising Meetings Travel SaaS Remote Worker Theft Streaming Media HIPAA Tip of the week Telecommuting Leadership Enterprise Content Management Mobile Cleaning Netflix Evernote Authentication Entertainment Students User Error Business Technology Insurance Relocation Data Warehousing Voice over Internet Protocol Patch Management Recycling Wireless Internet USB Colocation Windows 10s Password Management Wiring Google Apps Content Filter Hiring/Firing Health Windows Server 2008 Remote Work Augmented Reality Professional Services Computer Care Wireless Charging Nanotechnology HBO Wireless Technology Current Events Human Resources Healthcare PDF Black Market Sync IBM Fraud Practices Data Management Humor Multi-Factor Security Safety Scam eWaste Wire Computing Infrastructure NIST Accountants Screen Mirroring Software as a Service Marketing Hacker Camera Storage Keyboard Files The Internet of Things webinar Reputation Internet Exlporer CrashOverride Tools Samsung Fiber-Optic Apple Outlook Specifications Knowledge Staff Electronic Health Records Audit Telephony Charger Emails Telephone System Amazon Hosted Computing Trending Criminal Hosted Solution IP Address Books Television Printers Twitter Remote Computing Experience Users Line of Business Customer Service Webinar Regulation Search Content Benefits Worker WiFi Mobile Office Public Computer Scalability Music Loyalty Best Practice Politics Domains IT solutions Audiobook Wireless Smart Technology Shadow IT Rootkit Wearable Technology Company Culture Virtual Reality Public Speaking Employer Employee Relationship Presentation Automobile Lithium-ion battery Managing Stress Worker Commute Computer Accessories Tech Support Proactive 5G Two Factor Authentication Vendor Management Fun Instant Messaging Troubleshooting Assessment Video Games Bluetooth Battery Remote Monitoring and Maintenance Customer Relationship Management Techology Competition Transportation How to Administration