A Premier League club came close to losing £1m to cyber hackers, according to a report published by the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC).
The report reveals that a managing director of a Premier League club saw his email address hacked during transfer negotiations.
The bank then had to intervene to prevent hackers from stealing £1m, in one of a growing number of cases of cyber hacking within professional sport.
The NCSC also revealed that a Football League team almost had to postpone a fixture because hackers use ransomware to attack security systems and block the club’s turnstiles.
Those are just two cases amongst a multitude of daily instances of cybercrime within the sporting world, with the NCSC warning that professional sport has become a key target for cyber criminals.
Paul Chichester, director of operations at the NCSC, said: ‘Sport is a pillar of many of our lives and we’re eagerly anticipating the return to full stadiums and a busy sporting calendar.
‘While cybersecurity might not be an obvious consideration for the sports sector as it thinks about its return, our findings show the impact of cybercriminals cashing in on this industry is very real.
‘I would urge sporting bodies to use this time to look at where they can improve their cybersecurity – doing so now will help protect them and millions of fans from the consequences of cybercrime.’
The report revealed that the biggest single financial loss to cybercrime was £4m, while 30% of incidents caused direct financial damage at an average of £10,000 per crime.
Over 70% of businesses also revealed that they had been targeted by cyber hackers over the past 12 months, while a staggering 30% of those surveyed had suffered more than five cyber attacks during that period.
Sir Hugh Robertson, chair of the British Olympic Association said in the report: ‘Improving cybersecurity across the sports sector is critical.
‘The British Olympic Association sees this report as a crucial first step, helping sports organisations to better understand the threat and highlighting practical steps that organisation should take to improve cybersecurity practices.’