Nov 15, 2021
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Cybersecurity for Sports and Entertainment

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As operations at sports stadiums become more dependent on data centers and online networks, and as the performance metrics and health data of athletes become more vulnerable to illicit exposure or alteration, the $80 billion industry of competitive sports has become increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks. Much like many other businesses across industries, they are generating big money and big data, both of which are prime targets for hackers. 
Over the past year and a half, many industries have seen increases in cyberthreats and attacks due to the more geographically dispersed workforce and distributed network vulnerabilities being exploited. However, now that in-person verticals like sports and entertainment are returning, the vulnerabilities are becoming more critical. Web application attacks and denial-of-service attacks are experiencing a higher bits-per-second volume in the sports industry, with social engineering attacks also becoming more prominent. Attackers prey on the audience’s distraction during these sports events—users let their guard down and rarely question the authenticity of emails or web pages they may access while watching a game or event.  
Content in the sports and entertainment industry is as high-profile as it gets. Therefore, it presents an attractive target to cybercriminals and hacktivists keen to monetize it or accrue notoriety by leaking data. Social media is critical in helping talent engage with fans and for brands to build communities to drive marketing campaigns. But this also exposes them to account hijacking, which could severely damage the reputation of companies and sports and entertainment stars. Digital assets such as streaming portals, ticketing sites and internal applications present many more avenues of attack for cybercriminals well-versed in targeting hidden vulnerabilities.
Sports organizations, like any business, rely on technology, with most of them investing in websites, multiple social media accounts, email access, cloud-based servers, online bank accounts and databases and digital technology to modernize their offerings. The key cyberattacks that sports organizations are warned to protect themselves against are business email compromise, phishing attacks, fraud and ransomware campaigns being used to shut down critical event systems and stadiums – a quarter of malware attacks targeting sports organizations are said to have involved ransomware.  
Cybersecurity is a crucial consideration for nearly every business, regardless of industry. 
The goal for securing an organization is all about providing a trusted customer experience, operational excellence, digital transformation, digital resilience. Cybersecurity is a team sport. Do you have the right players and techniques?
Bindu Sundaresan is currently responsible for growing the security consulting competencies and integration with the AT&T Services and Product Offerings. Bindu is a security SME (subject matter expert) with the judgment and experience to right-size and customize information security solutions that both accommodate and enable business growth. She has worked to establish enterprise vision, strategies, and programs for Fortune 50 companies to ensure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of information assets – thus protecting and enhancing multimillion/billion-dollar revenue streams.
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