Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

June 16, 2015

Baseball cyber attack. “Game changer” no longer a cliché.

Filed under: Cybersecurity — by Christopher Bellavita on June 16, 2015

To editorial cartoonists, opinion writers, bloggers, news and sports casters, and the rest of the commentariat: Merry Christmas.

From today’s New York Times:

St. Louis Cardinals Investigated by F.B.I. for Hacking Astros

The F.B.I. and Justice Department prosecutors are investigating front-office officials for the St. Louis Cardinals, one of the most successful teams in baseball over the past two decades, for hacking into the internal networks of a rival team to steal closely guarded information about player personnel.

Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials. Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said.

The officials did not say which employees were the focus of the investigation or whether the team’s highest-ranking officials were aware of the hacking or authorized it. The investigation is being led by the F.B.I.’s Houston field office and has progressed to the point that subpoenas have been served on the Cardinals and Major League Baseball for electronic correspondence.

The attack represents the first known case of corporate espionage in which a professional sports team has hacked the network of another team. Illegal intrusions into companies’ networks have become commonplace, but it is generally conducted by hackers operating in foreign countries, like Russia and China, who steal large tranches 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 baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, said in a written statement.


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Comment by William R. Cumming

June 16, 2015 @ 3:31 pm

Instead of a Hackey-Sack [minature soccer ball] HACKEY BALL?

Comment by Arnold Bogis

June 16, 2015 @ 4:01 pm

Oh man. Two of my favorite topics – baseball and homeland security – together again.

It’s like chocolate and peanut butter…

What is interesting, from a cyber security angle, is that early reporting indicates that the hackers used a pretty unsophisticated method to gain access to the Astros’ network. They simply tried the old passwords employees who moved to the Astros’ from the Cards used at their previous place of employment.

A good reminder for everyone to routinely change passwords. Some of the best cyber security is the simplest cyber security.

Comment by William R. Cumming

June 17, 2015 @ 7:31 am

And change those SAFE combinations when employees depart.

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