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Cyber risks in sports: Safeguarding data and fans

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In the realm of major sporting events like the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and the Winter Olympics, cyber risks are heightened. Valuable data on athletic performance, competitive advantage, and personal information becomes an attractive target for malicious actors.

Implementing cybersmart practices is essential for sports teams, venues, and fans, as interconnected networks and multiple stakeholders amplify the vulnerability of this information.

Microsoft Security has recommended best practices to safeguard against data loss and extortion threats.

Connected video boards, digital signage

Disable any unnecessary ports and ensure proper network scanning for rogue or ad hoc wireless access points update, patch software and opt for applications with a layer of encryption for all data.

Wi-Fi hotspots, mobile apps, and QR codes
Encourage attendees to:

· secure their apps and devices with latest updates and patches,

· avoid accessing sensitive information from public Wi-Fi,

· avoid links, attachments, and QR codes from unofficial sources.

Point of sale (POS) and wider commerce systems

Ensure POS devices are patched, up to date, and connected to a separate network. Also, attendees should beware of unfamiliar kiosks and ATMs and limit transactions to areas officially endorsed by the event host.

Stadium access and infrastructure equipment
Develop logical network segmentations to create divisions between IT and OT systems and limit cross-access to devices and data to mitigate the consequences of a cyberattack.

Knowing these safe practices can help fans and attendees sidestep becoming victims of social engineering attacks, which cybercriminals can wage after gaining a foothold into exploited venue and event networks.

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