According to a report published by the UK’s National Cyber Security Center (Cyber Threat to Sports Organizations), ransomware stands out as an important issue for sports organizations.
“SMEs act as a single point of contact for larger organizations, government agencies, general public and departments, and work with other law enforcement, defense, UK intelligence and security agencies, and international partners.”
The British Football League (EFL) club is an example of the ransomware attack by the NCSC. Apparently, hackers wanted 400 Bitcoin ransom, which the owners of the club refused to pay.
Hackers then took revenge by encrypting the club’s “end-user devices”. Also, some of the club’s servers were encrypted, which meant that the club could not use corporate email.
While it is not clear which attack vector is used, NCSC is suspected of being a phishing scam or hacking as a club’s CCTV system.
Since all the systems in the stadium are located on a single network, the infection could spread rapidly. It is estimated that this football club has lost several hundred thousand British pounds.
After repairing the IT systems, the club made the following conclusions:
To make it difficult for an attack to affect multiple systems, they must have their network segmented.
They have not prepared any emergency response plans and have not implemented any training on how to deal with such situations. They made little investment in cyber security.
The club now has a new IT manager and has updated their systems and workflows to minimize the potential damage to future attacks.
The MCSC report says that such cyber attacks are quite common against sports organizations in the UK. 70% of the organizations surveyed experienced at least one attack a year.