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St Louis Cardinals foul out in hacking escapade

Jun 18, 20153 mins
Data Breach

Who is on first?

I’ve found it difficult t get back into watching baseball since the last strike. When I was kid growing up on Montreal I used to catch Expos games with my Dad at the old Jerry Park. It was a magical experience for a kid. The roar of the crowd. The crack of the bat…buy me some peanuts and crackerjacks…and a remote shell.

But, now that memory is taking another bit of a hit. After the last strike I had just lost my enjoyment of the game. Rather unfortunate but, that’s just how I felt at the time. Now, I read that a front office staffer for the St. Louis Cardinals went to the extraordinary step of hacking into some databases that belonged to the Houston Astros franchise.

Apparently, based on numerous articles that I read, they were after information pertaining to players. They had access to trade information, statistics and personal information. The motivation appears to be related to revenge against a former front office employee who was now with the Astros organization.

Now, the FBI has stepped into the fray to try and keep the cyber bench clearing brawl under control. Subpoenas have been served now and it will be a matter of time and we will see some people hitting the showers.

From NY Times:

The attack would represent the first known case of corporate espionage in which a professional sports team hacked the network of another team. Illegal intrusions into companies’ networks have become commonplace, but they are generally conducted by hackers operating in foreign countries, like Russia and China, who steal large amounts of data or trade secrets for military equipment and electronics.

Major League Baseball “has been aware of and has fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database,” a spokesman for Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a written statement.

On the colossally stupid scale I would give this hack a 10 out of 10. Not really sure how this harebrained scheme was even a thought process. I’m willing to bet this was executed by a rank amateur from the Cardinal offices and there will be plenty of data. I could be wrong but, something in my instinct just thinks that this will be the case.

While cheating is nothing new to sports, this definitely a very different example from the fresh reports we’ve read about the bribery scandals that are plaguing FIFA. What I really worry about is that this is simply the first of many to be unearthed. I would not be surprised to see other examples of data breaches in the not so distant future.

Why? Well, money. There is a great deal of money at stake in professional sports and sometimes this leads people to take complete leave of their senses.


Dave Lewis has over two decades of industry experience. He has extensive experience in IT security operations and management. Currently, Dave is a Global Security Advocate for Akamai Technologies. He is the founder of the security site Liquidmatrix Security Digest and co-host of the Liquidmatrix podcast.

The opinions expressed in this blog are those of Dave Lewis and do not necessarily represent those of IDG Communications, Inc., its parent, subsidiary or affiliated companies.

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