Hackers increasingly target the sports industry - sports teams, organizations and tournaments - with Phishing and ransomware attacks, as well as many other fraud attempts, to make huge monetary gains. During the pandemic of COVID-19, hackers "hit" the sports industry many times, with attacks have huge financial costs for sports teams and organizations. The National Cyber Security Center in the United Kingdom (NCSC) has analyzed in detail the cyber threats faced by the sports industry and revealed that more than 70% of sports institutions have fallen victim to some form of cyber attack or piracy in the last 12 months. A major incident recently involved hackers trying to steal .1.000.000 XNUMX from a Premier League football club.
Nearly a third of sports institutions have recorded at least five attempted attacks, which are carried out mainly by financially motivated hackers. In addition, many more are likely to take place campaigns against sports organizations, especially those involved in international events such as the Olympic Games.
The cyber-attacks that sports organizations are called upon to watch out for are phishing attacks, scams and ransomware campaigns used to shut down systems and stadiums where important events are taking place.
A security incident that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic concerns a member of the Premier League football club, whose e-mail violated before a deal to transfer a player, which almost led to the theft of 1 XNUMX million from cybercriminals, as part of an organized plan BEC. The Premier League executive mistakenly introduced them credentials on a spoof Office365 login page, which provided hackers with his information as well as the ability to track his emails, including a discussion about the imminent transfer of a player.
The hackers used the stolen credentials to start a dialogue between the two unions and while the agreement was almost closed, the payment was not completed, because the bank recognized the "fraudulent" account of the cybercriminal.
In addition, a ransomware attack on an English football club destroyed corporate systems and security systems, shutting down the turnstiles, preventing fans from entering or leaving the stadium, and the league was almost canceled, with the football club losing hundreds of thousands of pounds in revenue it expected.
It is believed that the hackers entered the network via phishing email or by remote access to the connected CCTV system. Once they entered, they were able to spread throughout the network, as it was not fragmented. The attackers demanded a ransom of 400 bitcoins (about 300.000 pounds), but the union refused to pay that amount, eventually rebuilding the network on its own.
Another incident described in detail in the report Cyber Threat to Sports Organizations NCSC reveals that a staff member at a racetrack had stolen .15.000 XNUMX in a scam in which the attackers eBay.
The warning for sports clubs and championship organizations to remain vigilant about cyber-attacks comes at a time when many are already worried about the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on sporting events, as many of them have been canceled and others held in camera. doors. Therefore, losing more money due to a cyber attack could be extremely damaging.
Nearly a third of the events reported in detail in the NCSC report resulted in direct financial loss at an average cost of. 10.000 each - with the largest loss exceeding 4 XNUMX million. To help protect against cyberattacks, the NCSC recommends that sports organizations implement security checks on emails, which the report says are not typically applied across the sector. Organizations should also ensure that their staff receive cyber security training and that cyber risk management is taken seriously at all levels. And to protect against ransomware and other infrastructure attacks targeting infrastructure, organizations should ensure that all systems are up to date with the latest. updates security, to stop criminals from exploiting any vulnerabilities. Also, remote access, which is a solution within COVID-19, must be restricted when it is not absolutely necessary.