According to 2017 reporting, Major League Baseball believed that the Boston Red Sox, at the time in first place in the American League East, used the Apple Watch to illicitly steal hand signals from opposing teams. Allegedly, the Apple Watch was used to not only “steal” hand signals from opposing catchers in games using video recording equipment, but transmit the information likely to team trainers. The theft of such information would help determine the type of pitch that was going to be thrown. The recording of signals is strictly forbidden by league rules.
When it comes to targeting billion-dollar sports franchises, many would assume that cyber crime would be the foremost cyber actors behind the scenes. Based on a 2015 report that estimated the professional sports market in North America to have an expected worth of $73.5 billion by 2019, it’s easy to see why. Indeed, there have been several incidents where cyber crime operations have focused on professional sports teams. In April 2016, the National Basketball Association Milwaukee Bucks players had their financial documents (player addresses, Social Security Numbers, and compensation) accidentally leaked due to a team employee falling victim to an e-mail scam. The employee released players’ 2015 IRS W-2 documents to an emailer impersonating the team’s president. Also in 2016, a crippling TeslaCrypt ransomware attack impacted a NASCAR racing team. An estimated $2 million worth of information was potentially lost prompting payment of the ransom to the criminals.