Securing the Digital World

Super Bowl "Digital Deflategate" is Not Just Air

Feb 03, 2017 | by Peter Tran |

When we think of large entertainment venues and events, it's not just ticket fees and concessions anymore. Sporting is entertainment and this year's Super Bowl LI (51) is one of the most complex, technologically orchestrated events in the world; ranging from tablet-based play books to RFID wearable sensors on players sending real time performance data and analytics to coaches and mobile apps. Supply chain attacks can affect virtually any industry that relies on complex IT and infrastructures, as well as data delivery networks. While we typically think of large retailers, this weekend's NFL event stands to be one of the most high-value targets for cybercriminals and other sophisticated attackers intent on mass disruption, manipulation and/or destruction. The number of third-party vendors involved in supporting the "game of all games" is comprised of one of the most complex interlocked networks imaginable. It's "mind bending" to think of the network of suppliers, each introducing unique vulnerabilities and cybersecurity issues into the overall infrastructure, resulting in "breach exposure windows" during a very compressed period of time when sponsors, vendors, broadcast networks and advertisers have hundreds of millions at stake.

Just days away from Super Bowl LI, I talked with Dan Stoller of Bloomberg BNA on the possibility that we may be seeing a "national digital deflategate debate" if a major Super Bowl cyberattack were to happen. Let's face it, data has changed athletics and sporting to a point where game play is based on bioinformatics, data science and using technology to increase marginal gains for competitive advantage. It shouldn't be the case that the amount of air in a ball is scrutinized and debated, but it has become a material breach in proprietary competitive data and intellectual property lending an unfair advantage to teams in one of the only sporting entertainment events that owns its own day of the week. Read more as I weigh in with Bloomberg BNA.