Hackers foiled in £1m transfer fee sting, but cybercrime is football’s new security frontier

July 23 – An unnamed English Premier League club came close to losing £1 million during a transfer deal because of cyber hackers, according to a new report.

The report by Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) says emails of the club’s managing director were hacked during transfer talks, resulting in the fee involved almost falling into the hands of the hackers but for a late intervention from the bank involved.

The NCSC’s first ‘Cyber Threat to Sports Organisations’ report revealed 70 % of major UK sports organisations suffer a cyber attack every year, more than double the average for other businesses.

Another unnamed English club was targeted by a ransomware attack that prevented turnstiles and CCTV systems from working, almost resulting in a match being cancelled.

They were two of several incidents highlighted as evidence that sport needed to improve its cybersecurity.

“Sport is a pillar of many of our lives and we’re eagerly anticipating the return to full stadiums and a busy sporting calendar,” said Paul Chichester, director of operations at the NCSC,

“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.”

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