One of the biggest industries in the United States is professional sports. The National Football League (NFL) posted earnings of over $13 billion last year. For Major League Baseball (MLB), the number is $9.5 billion. The National Basketball Association (NBA) has increased from $2 billion to $5 billion in the last decade. Even the National Hockey League (NHL), not as big an earner as the “big three” of football, basketball, and baseball, made $3.7 billion.
This heavy flow of money into any industry usually attracts one group: criminals looking to take advantage of all that cash. This is why professional and amateur sports teams are gearing up for the next logical progression of such criminals: cyber hackers. A few smaller cyberattacks are now drawing attention to this threatening new area.
Cyberattacks reported in professional sports
The first victim of this new arena has been Major League Lacrosse. The personal information of every current player was posted online along with data from a few former players. Players’ phone numbers and home addresses were posted online. Although professional lacrosse players are not under the same media scrutiny of other professional sports, the fact that this could happen is very unsettling to many. If a similar hack exposed the personal information of Lebron James, Sidney Crosby, Mike Trout, or Tom Brady, the result could be catastrophic for these multimillionaires. They could then become the target of stalkers and other criminals who could conceivably hack their personal bank accounts.
Medical data isn’t safe in sports
In another high-profile hack that shocked the sports world, a Russian hacking collective was able to get the medical data of soccer players from the 2010 World Cup. The same group also released drug tests of other athletes, including tennis player Serena Williams. All of this data was apparently stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA). Other sports stars, particularly pro wrestlers such as Paige from the WWE, have been the targets of hacks that have stolen private nude photos and videos in the past year.
Being proactive is the best defense
Organizations are now trying to be proactive in an attempt to prevent future hacks. The NHL Player’s Association is working with a cybersecurity firm Darktrace to stop hackers from breaching their data, including contact information and contracts. This information could be exploited in a variety of ways. First is the possibility that players could have their identities stolen and their bank accounts compromised. There is also the concern that player’s private lives could be endangered if personal information became readily available. But the teams are also concerned that the information could be used to blackmail the team since information about training schedules and regimens could be stolen and then auctioned off to other teams looking for an unfair advantage.
Instituting social media guidelines to prevent social hacking
Social media has been another area of concern as many players are active on all platforms, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Many high-profile athletes have had their social media accounts hacked and offensive or inappropriate information posted in their names, potentially hurting their credibility or the reputation of the team they play for. Because of this, many teams are instituting social media guidelines to help protect their brand.
Today, it is becoming more obvious that every avenue of public life has the potential to be the victims of cybercrimes. Sports is just one of the more high-profile areas that is now doing more to combat this likelihood. New Edge Technology Solutions is working every day to protect you and businesses from the dangers of the internet. By keeping you a step ahead of the bad guys, we have your back. Find out more about how New Edge Technology Solutions is keeping the bad guys at bay.