Premier League Soccer Targeted by Hackers in Latest Cyber Threat

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Hackers are targeting Premier League soccer clubs as they look for ways to cash in on cyber-attacks against Britain’s multibillion-pound sports sector, according to a U.K. intelligence agency.

In a report detailing widespread targeting of sporting institutions, the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre highlighted a case where the emails of a managing director at a Premier League team were hacked before a transfer negotiation. As a result, it required late intervention by the club’s bank to thwart the loss of almost 1 million pounds ($1.3 million) to the cyber criminals, the report said.

Evidence of attacks against sporting bodies is the latest example of the threat posed by hackers, following claims that Russian state intelligence is hacking international research centers working on a coronavirus vaccine. The U.K. report on sport didn’t specify where the attacks came from.

“The impact of cyber criminals cashing in on the industry is very real,” said Paul Chichester, director of operations at the NCSC, in comments that accompanied the report. “I would urge sporting bodies to use this time to look at where they can improve their cyber security.”

At least 70% of major sporting organizations suffer a cyber incident every 12 months, more than double the average for U.K. businesses, according to the NCSC report. Of those incidents, about 30% caused financial damage, with an average cost of 10,000 pounds per incident. The biggest single loss was 4 million pounds, the report said.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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