Cybersecurity Concerns Come to the World Cup
For major sporting events, the focus on preparedness is usually on whether the venues are safe and the crowds are protected. But the biggest potential safety issue – cybersecurity – is one that keeps getting overlooked, and it’s no different for the World Cup.
11 Russian cities are hosting the World Cup this year, and researchers looking at 32,000 Wi-Fi hotspots in those areas found one in five are completely unprotected (St. Petersburg is apparently the least secure, with only 37% of hotspots completely unsecured). As a result, attendees – from the average fan to foreign dignitaries and celebrities – are particularly at risk of having their data compromised.
Wi-Fi isn’t the only way for cyber thieves to get access – the venues hosting the matches are another major target. The most common cyber threats to sports venues include attacks on IT systems and ticket operations (another way to get access to visitors’ personal and financial info).
How can sports fans – and organizations – protect their information? One way is to follow the lead of some teams in the World Cup. The Football Association is providing its own secure Wi-Fi for players, as well as educating them on online best practices, something every IT pro should be enforcing with their organization’s staff regularly.