The Sports industry has been pushing into and adopting new technology over the past few years. All the important information is being pushed onto these new technologies. But with such modernization there comes problems. Because of their adoption and implementation of technology into their infrastructures, sports are now becoming targets for hackers.
One team at the Circle Sport-Leavine Family Racing discovered that there might be a problem with using technology for everything as they became a target for hackers who hit their computers and network systems with a ransomware virus. Ransomware is one of the most used malware versions in the world, and it is used to infect computers, lock users out of their own devices and encrypts their files. For users to gain access to their files and documents they need to pay a ransom to the hackers.
In the above case the CS-LFR team managed to pay just a small ransom, but in most instances, the prices are exorbitantly high. These types of attacks are on the rise every day, and they are estimated to be costing business and organizations close to $1 billion each year, according to the FBI. Luckily for the team, the hackers only demanded $500 worth of Bitcoins.
The incident was first reported back in April by nascar.com that the crew chief for the team CS-LFR, Dave Winston, was having problems with his computer. According to him, the computer was acting buggy and some weird, unknown files were popping up on the screen. Winston said that with time the files kept on popping up each day, and he said that one day he clicked on one of them. It had come with a picture or a screenshot of a logo or an email, but he didn’t remember very well. But with each passing day, the pop ups kept on increasing, and he was confused as to why it kept happening.
Since he didn’t do anything to fix the problem, it meant the problem only got worse. All the files about the car’s chassis, wind tunnel tests, and other simulations necessary for racing cars were all shunted to Dropbox accounts. Later that same day as he was using his computer offline, Winston discovered that the files had now been encrypted, and he discovered that even the whole team could not access them. The team was not backing up their files which meant they could do nothing else other than getting their encrypted files back.
The incident happened just as they prepared for the Sprint Cup Series race, and the team officials were in a state of panic as they tried to look at ways to solve the problem. They went on Google to look for solutions and try to get Winston out of trouble, according to the vice president of the company, Jeremy Lange.
Therefore, by the time they received a ransom note demanding $500 worth in Bitcoin, in exchange for the key that would help them decrypt the files, they jumped onto the idea. Winston wanted to do nothing else but pay the ransom to get things going again, Lange noted. He didn’t care whether they wanted Bitcoin, cash, or credit card payments. Lange even said that Winston could have sold a child to get back the files.
The group had to look at ways to use Bitcoin and transfer the funds to hackers. The amount was low considering all the information that is likely to be in these files and folders. For big sports teams and organizations, it puts them at risk and the hackers understands this.
If you are Nascar, another large corporation, or just somebody living at home, always practice good computer use police and as we say: “Get yourself a good VPN“