Cybersecurity for Sports and Entertainment

As operations at sports stadiums become more dependent on data centers and online networks, and as the performance metrics and health data of athletes become more vulnerable to illicit exposure or alteration, the $80 billion industry of competitive sports has become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Much like many other businesses across industries, they are generating big money and big data, both of which are prime targets for hackers. 

Less Vigilance, More Attacks 

Over the past year and a half, many industries have seen increases in cyberthreats and attacks due to the more geographically dispersed workforce and distributed network vulnerabilities being exploited. However, now that in-person verticals like sports and entertainment are returning, the vulnerabilities are becoming more critical. Web application attacks and denial-of-service attacks are experiencing a higher bits-per-second volume in the sports industry, with social engineering attacks also becoming more prominent. Attackers prey on the audience’s distraction during these sports events—users let their guard down and rarely question the authenticity of emails or web pages they may access while watching a game or event.  

Crisis Fuels Cybercrime

Content in the sports and entertainment industry is as high-profile as it gets. Therefore, it presents an attractive target to cybercriminals and hacktivists keen to monetize it or accrue notoriety by leaking data. Social media is critical in helping talent engage with fans and for brands to build communities to drive marketing campaigns. But this also exposes them to account hijacking, which could severely damage the reputation of companies and sports and entertainment stars. Digital assets such as streaming portals, ticketing sites and internal applications present many more avenues of attack for cybercriminals well-versed in targeting hidden vulnerabilities.

Foundational Security Planning for all Organizations

  • Security awareness training is vital to help reduce the impact of phishing, improve password security and minimize the risks associated with using public Wi-Fi. Multifactor authentication (MFA) will further help secure employee and talent accounts, both internal ones and across social media or public-facing platforms. Least-privilege access policies ensure that individuals can only access what they need to do their jobs and nothing more, closing off more avenues of attack. Endpoint security is required to keep at-home or remote workers protected. Regular penetration testing and quick patching any discovered vulnerabilities, especially those in web applications, will further reduce the attack surface. Relevant enterprise security controls are required across the network, hybrid cloud server, endpoint and email or web gateways.
  • Identifying vulnerabilities enables the organization to patch weaknesses before a hacker has a chance to exploit them. Penetration test results may help drive your security budget and prioritize spending; penetration testing is a best practice for a reason. It’s time to stop putting it off and start thinking about the future of your business. With hacking and other cybercrime on the rise, all businesses must take cybersecurity seriously. Protecting systems, networks and devices are essential in the race against cybercrime.
  • Any organization that doesn’t have a dedicated IT team can also benefit from managed cybersecurity solutions, whether to assess vulnerabilities, prevent and protect your business from attacks or detect and respond to them. Investing in these expert services can provide peace of mind and minimize your operations, data and technology infrastructure risks. They also free up your workforce to focus on core responsibilities.
  • Given the news headlines about ransomware, your best defense against ransomware is a complete incident response plan. To say that ransomware causes technical difficulties is an understatement. Without the proper preparation, an attack can bring your business to a grinding halt and put your critical information at risk. Fortunately, ransomware attacks are both avoidable and containable by following fundamental security and disaster recovery best practices.

Digital Transformation and Reliance on Technology

Sports organizations, like any business, rely on technology, with most of them investing in websites, multiple social media accounts, email access, cloud-based servers, online bank accounts and databases and digital technology to modernize their offerings. The key cyberattacks that sports organizations are warned to protect themselves against are business email compromise, phishing attacks, fraud and ransomware campaigns being used to shut down critical event systems and stadiums – a quarter of malware attacks targeting sports organizations are said to have involved ransomware.  

Cybersecurity is a crucial consideration for nearly every business, regardless of industry. 

The goal for securing an organization is all about providing a trusted customer experience, operational excellence, digital transformation, digital resilience. Cybersecurity is a team sport. Do you have the right players and techniques?

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