Sports teams to get coaching on cybersecurity at NCSC summit

Premier League clubs will be among those attending the National Cyber Security Centre’s first-ever sports cybersecurity summit on Wednesday.

The UK’s cybersecurity agency will give guidance to over 180 representatives from professional clubs and organisations across football, rugby, cricket and other governing bodies in how to protect themselves from cybercriminals.

Among those attending the meeting will be 11 Premier League clubs and 35 teams from the English Football League, the NCSC said.

Last year, the agency revealed that cybercrime targeting professional sports teams included an attempt to sabotage a transfer deal involving a Premier League club.

Manchester United were the target of a cybersecurity attack
Manchester United were the target of a cybersecurity attack (Martin Rickett/PA)

Also, Manchester United confirmed in November they were victims of a hack described as “a sophisticated operation by organised cyber criminals”.

The NCSC is encouraging sporting organisations to implement more cybersecurity measures to stop criminals from exploiting the lucrative industry – which is worth an estimated £37billion to the UK economy each year.

Sarah Lyons, the NCSC’s deputy director for economy and society, said: “We know that sports clubs and organisations are facing significant challenges managing the impact of the coronavirus pandemic but that doesn’t stop the UK sports industry being a highly attractive target for cybercriminals – and it’s important that organisations are aware of this threat.

“It’s great to see so many sports clubs and organisations coming together like this and showing they take cybersecurity seriously.

“Whether they were able to attend the summit or not I would encourage all organisations in the sector to take the actionable steps set out in our ‘Cyber Threat to the Sports Sector’ report.”

Digital infrastructure minister Matt Warman has also voiced his support for the scheme.

“We have a world-class sports sector and I am pleased the National Cyber Security Centre is supporting the industry with tailored cyber security advice,” he said.

“We know the financial power of the sector makes it a target for cyber criminals and I urge all sports organisations to follow the simple steps on offer in the free guidance before it is too late.”

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