Top Cybersecurity Threats in Sport (2025)

On October 10th, 2017 at a panel discussion about “Cybersecurity of the Olympic Games” at the University Club, California Memorial Stadium – Missy Franklin, (five-time Olympic medalist) said “We constantly get new technology thrown at us. It’s crazy, but that’s where sports are going.”

Extract:Digital technologies pose an increasingly diverse set of threats to Olympic events, and the newer forms of threat are likely to have more serious consequences. While most hacks today focus on sports stadium IT systems and ticket operations, future risks will include hacks that cut to the integrity of the sporting event results, as well as to core stadiums operations.”

The study The Cybersecurity of Olympic Sports: New Opportunities, New Risks identifies eight key areas of risk for future sporting events:

  1. Stadium system hacks
  2. Scoring system hacks
  3. Photo and video replay hacks
  4. Athlete care hacks
  5. Entry manipulation
  6. Transportation hacks
  7. Hacks to facilitate terrorism or kidnapping
  8. Panic-inducing hacks

Key Olympic sports technology trends that represent several vectors of additional risk:

  1. Gymnastics
    1. Artificial intelligence in scoring
    2. Possible Surprises: Embedded tracking in gymnastics equipment
  2. Swimming
    1. Automated start/finish technology
    2. Possible Surprises: Biometrics in swimsuits
  3. Rowing
    1. Drones above race
    2. GPS tracking of boats
    3. Possible Surprises: Virtual reality real-time viewing
  4. Track & Field
    1. Automatic field event measurement
    2. Possible Surprises: 3D images for track finishes

Selected known cybersecurity incidents from the last three summer Olympic Games include:

BEIJING:

  1. Ticket scamming
  2. DDoS and related attacks against IT infrastructure

LONDON OLYMPICS:

  1. Ticket scamming
  2. DDoS and related attacks against IT infrastructure
  3. False alarm threat to the electrical grid

RIO OLYMPICS:

  1. Ticket scamming
  2. DDoS and related attacks against IT infrastructure
  3. Athlete data hack

END

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