The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned professional sports teams to boost their protection against hackers after revealing that hackers attempted to steal £1 million from a transfer deal between two Premier League teams. However, the bank handling the deal was able to spot the hackers and put a stop to the scam.
In a recent case, a Football League team was attacked with ransomware that hijacked their security systems.
According to the NCSC, a number of incidents have arisen in the last few months from cybercriminals, which has led to the NCSC calling for teams to invest more in online security.
The NCSC’s report, titled “Cyber Threat to Sports Organizations“, also disclosed that a staff member of a horse racing track lost £15,000 trying to purchase grounds keeping equipment from a fake version of eBay. The NCSC believes that hackers are trying to attack sports organizations daily due to the amount of money they could possibly steal.
The NCSC’s director of operations Paul Chichester said that sports franchises would be well-advised to improve their cybersecurity teams due to hackers recognizing them as easy targets.
The report estimated that roughly 30% of hacker attacks on sports teams caused financial harm to the organizations, with an average loss of around £10,000 per incident. The biggest single loss suffered by a sports team due to a cyberattack was pegged at more than £4 million.
The stats show that 70% of all organizations surveyed for the report logged at least one incident in the preceding 12 months, with the remaining 30% stating that they experienced more than five over the same period.
Sports Officials Acknowledge Reports’ Results
The chair of the British Olympic Association, Sir Hugh Robertson, promised to look into the matter, noting that he will advocate for the improvement of cybersecurity among sports teams. Robertson stated that the report’s findings are an essential wake up call for sports teams.
Tony Sutton who is the COO for the Rugby Football League was one of the main executives to publicly express his support and thanks for the report.
Sutton acknowledged that, as more of sports teams’ daily processes are conducted online, the data they accrue on their computers could be more valuable than ever to digital thieves. The NCSC’s report is essential for its disclosure of these problem, and should help various sports teams to get started on updating their cybersecurity departments.