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When you and your friends gathered around your television in February for Super Bowl 50, cybercrime was probably the farthest thing from your mind.
Party snacks? Check.
Foam finger? Check.
Super Bowl TV commercial checklist?
But the sad reality is that the majority of national sporting events are the target of cybercrime. All those spectators, athletes and organizations gathered in one massive venue are using a variety of technologies that can all be hacked.
Fans of the 2008 Beijing and 2012 London Olympic Games and 2014 FIFA World Cup were victims of online scams, too, including phishing websites that sold fake tickets and stole credit card information; malicious emails that prompted for personal information; and fake apps.
In the United States, some major sporting events are now designated as National Special Security events, and the US Secret Service coordinates security with the support of local agencies and INTERPOL.
At the recent NG Security Summit in Austin, Texas, Cisco CSE Aaron Torres echoed the need for this type of coordinated security management. “The problem with security is being reactive,” said Torres. “Do we have proactive procedures [in place] to protect our environment?”
Super Bowl 50 certainly did.
Not far from the event’s 68,500 seat Levi Stadium, an elite team of cyber professionals analyzed and decoded data to assist security forces in detecting credible threats of violence and cybercrime. This is the seventh year McLean, Virginia-based Haystax Technology has provided security surveillance for the Super Bowl. Such high profile events are its brand focus; their corporate clients also include the NASCAR Indy 500, the Academy Awards and Grammy Awards.
Haystax Technology used a software for the Super Bowl called Cal COP to analyze multiple sources including communications and reports from weather, news, police and emergency channels, and camera, social media and traffic feeds. They then translated the data gathered into coded alerts.
All that security comes with a price tag. The aforementioned 2012 London Olympics cost an estimated $18.2 billion US dollars, and of that, 9 percent or $1.6 billion dollars was spent on security. The Metropolitan Police Service’s Police Central E-Crime Unit established two units to handle cybercrime, and conducted IT system testing and simulations at 36 different venues with IT partner Atos Origin.
And to assure that all participating service and volunteer organizations knew how to respond in an emergency, the National Policing Improvement Agency conducted online safety and security training.
Sports metaphors are overused, but they seem appropriate when government and private agencies work together to fight cybercrime.
“If you do not have a collective mentality of security in your organization, you will run into issues,” said Deboral Feyerick, CNN National Coorespondent, during a live interview at the recent NG Security Summit. “Security is a team sport.”
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