The Internet has become as much a part of our lives as the air we breathe. According to Joe Inzerillo, vice president and CTO for Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM), the demand for connectivity is incredible, and it is primarily coming from college students and young professionals. This has motivated MLB to adapt to new avenues for delivering content. MLB has struggled to attract younger fans, and a 2015 survey suggests that 50 percent of viewers are 55 years of age or older. To compete with more connected professional sports organizations like the National Hockey League, Major League Baseball has committed to digitizing its stadiums and increasing connectivity to engage a younger audience. However, this increase in connectivity will leave millions of users susceptible to potential cyber intrusions.
There’s No Hacking in Baseball!
There is no hacking in Baseball?
Wrong, just ask the Houston Astros, a club that was recently hacked by the St Louis Cardinal’s former scouting director Chris Correa. According to reports, Correa illegally accessed the internal database of the Astros, and is now serving a 46-month stint in federal prison.
The Astros did everything right, “they built secure software and monitored the login for brute force attacks. They kept an activity log of all users behavior inside Ground Control. They changed both the login URL and all user passwords after positive media attention made Ground Control a software buzzword in Texas.” However, even the best security can leave an organization vulnerable. As MLB is dedicated to bringing in a younger and broader fan base by increasing connectivity, sophisticated hackers will seek to exploit the phones and smart tablets of fans to access their PII (Personally Identifiable Information).
What can be done?
As of right now, MLB teams are taking it upon themselves to police cyber activity, which has proved ineffective. The hacking of the Houston Astros internal database will unfortunately not be the last cyber intrusion to take place in MLB. Hiring an outside organization dedicated to preventing cyber intrusions will allow clubs to avoid the headache of a cyber intrusions, and focus on the business of winning!