Wouldn’t it be great if we had a sense of hackers’ strategies in advance? Unfortunately, hackers like to try out their tactics in real time.
In 2018, the opening of the Pyeongchang winter Olympics stalled due to a cyber attack that “temporarily paralyzed” technological systems. Display monitors failed, the stadium’s wi-fi vanished into thin air, and a website interception prevented potential attendees from printing out tickets from the official website. In 2012, evidence of a planned cyber attack was discovered in conjunction with the London Games.
In addition to blitzing operational teams and ruining the fun, cyber attacks retain the potential to sink event revenue. In 2017, the global sports market was valued at $265 billion. The USA accounts for 18.3% of that market share. The decimation of an event impacts athletic leagues, media corporations, ticket vendors, retailers and everyone else right down to the parking-lot attendants.
These days, major event venues are crafting cyber security protocols, and getting them vetted by the Department of Homeland Security. In addition to bolstering confidence, a positive response from DHS can actually lower event related insurance premiums. A portion of this benefit derives from the opportunity to accrue liability protections under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act of 2002.
The fact that sporting events appear innocuous, and like improbable attack surfaces makes them the perfect cover for hackers. But it’s not their pitch on which to score a field goal.