June 3, 2021 3:30:00 PM

It has become overly apparent that the threat of cyber security attacks is regularly increasing throughout the globe, as well as across industries. Even in the last several weeks we saw a major breach of the Colonial Pipeline requiring a multiple day shut down, followed not long after with all JBS’s US beef plants being shut down for several days due to a cyber security breach.

Sadly, while this has become an increasing trend it is in no way a new threat. The 2018 Olympics cyberattack temporarily darkened an entire data center providing the entire IT backend for the event, responsible for everything from hotel reservations to meals to ticketing and physical arena security. Cyber attacks can happen in any industry, and local teams and community events are not immune.

What is Cyber Security?

Cybersecurity is the art of protecting networks, devices, and data from unauthorized access or criminal use and the practice of ensuring confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information. This has become a crucial consideration for nearly every business and industry worldwide. In the athletic world, teams and sports organizations are being targeted, as well as sports venues. But it does not stop with professional sports and athletes. Local high schools and community events are also targeted for cyber-attacks.

How does a Cyber Security Attack Affect Athletics?

Just as defense is important in any team sporting event, so is the case with cyber security. A good defense truly can be a strong offense in protecting a team, organization, or community event from the cyber threats that abound today. There is a wide range of motives behind cyber-attacks that vary from industrial espionage to basic identity theft. These attacks can come in many different forms- fraudulent emails/calls, accessing official business emails to engineer fraudulent payments or data theft, and malware/ransomware attacks.

Consider the crippling effect a cyber-attack could have on a local high school, or a local triathlon event. Registrations for events is all done on-line, and school databases hold all student and parent information. This allows personal and financial information exposed to threats.  A cyber-attack could leak personal information, demolish fundraisers, and ruin the funds set for community events.

What Cyber Mitigation Practices can be used for Athletics?

Being aware of how cyber security threats have and can impact this industry, taking preventative steps to curb the cyber threats, and having an incident response plan in place if an attack occurs are all crucial to effectively defending against and dealing with cyber breaches. The following practices can assist in preventing a cyber attack from occurring, which in turn will save time, money, and the emotional stress of living with a cyber breach.

  • Be Aware of Risk: Put cyber security threats on your priority list and discuss the risks for your organization. If you are unsure of your risks- contact TSI to work up a risk assessment for your organization. You can not properly fight against cyber security breaches if you do not know where your system vulnerabilities lie.
  • Business Continuity & Awareness: Once you know the risks to your organization prepare for those type of cyber security threats, as well as common cyber-attacks. Develop plans on how to handle the most likely cyber breach scenarios. Exercise your plans to handle these situations so if a situation occurs you and your team know how to handle it. Empower your team to understand the seriousness of these types of attacks and how they can help prevent them. If you require assistance with this step, contact TSI and let their cyber experts help you develop the plans to handle any breaches that may come your way.
  • Make Attacks Difficult: Defend against attacks through Multi-Factor Authentication (MFA) for even services such as email. Using MFA can be a simple defense that can truly help counter cyber-attacks. MFA can help protect your team, organization, or facility’s data, finances, and services. You can also use technical security controls like blacklisting common passwords and allowing the use of password managers. These are quick and simple defenses that can go a long way in securing your information.

Where Do We Start?

The term cyber security may sound intimidating. Throw in the very real possibility of a cyber attack that could render your team, organization, or community event shut down and with significant financial loss, and it could leave you wondering where to start in your defenses. This is where TSI can help. Their cyber team can help your team, organization, or facility assess the cyber risks and vulnerabilities of your systems and work with you to develop incident response plans in the event of a breach. While some defenses can be easily set up on your own, more complex defenses can be tailored and implemented based on the specific risks and vulnerabilities of your organization. For these solutions TSI’s cyber team is here To Serve you and stock your defense arsenal before a cyber-attack strike.

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