Houston Astros

Houston Astros' Ground Control System Hacked, Possibly by Rival Team

If the accusations are true, this could be the first known time ever that a sports team hacked into a network to steal from a rival team. Some St. Louis Cardinals’ top officials are under FBI and Justice Department investigation for allegedly hacking into the Houston Astros’ network that contained internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports.

According to various media outlets, the investigation revolves around Jeff Luhnow, who worked for the Cardinals when they built a computer network, Redbird, to house the team’s operational information. This was done before Luhnow left, bringing some front-office personnel with him, to create a similar system, Ground Control, for the Astros.

Investigators believe the hack was actually quite simple. The Astros’ network was entered from the home where Cardinal officials live. Evidence points to the fact that the officials were able to enter the Astros' network by using a master list of passwords that Luhnow used during his time with the Cardinals.

“Hacking isn’t always about stealing credit cards, but can also be about access to information to provide a competitive edge,” said Ken Westin, security analysis, Tripwire. “We have increasingly seen this behavior in business where hackers steal and sell information to competitors or investors to give them an edge. A baseball team hacking another team is a logical extension of this type of attack, as it is in the end a business as well with high financial stakes, by accessing information on players their goal is to give themselves a competitive edge.”

MLB officials are aware of the breach as are team members of the St. Louis Cardinals and all are cooperating fully with the investigation.

Makes me wonder if the term “pro-sport espionage” will become a trend in the hacking world.

About the Author

Ginger Hill is Group Social Media Manager.

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