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Football Australia Experiences Data Breach That Exposes Fans’ Personal Details And Players’ Contracts

Football Australia Experiences Data Breach That Exposes Fans’ Personal Details And Players’ Contracts

Data security is the concept of protecting all virtual information from corruption, unauthorized access and theft throughout its whole lifecycle. This practice contains the entire spectrum of information security and includes administrative and access controls as well as the physical security of storage and hardware devices. As the online world has become full of challenges, it is more vital than ever to protect the data of an organization. Otherwise, a data breach can occur, which also happened with Football Australia. Hackers are looking to steal information from businesses of all sizes, but especially from those companies that hold essential information.

Football Australia is Australia’s football governing body, which is currently going through a challenging time as it investigates a possible data leak that might have exposed the contracts of the players and the personal details of the club members.

Let’s find out more on this topic.

Football Australia data breach

Players’ contracts, passports and many other details seem to have been available online due to the data breach of the Football Australia (FA). Cyber researchers say that because of this event, information about the customers of the governing body and every Australian fan could have been exposed online.

It was Cybernews, a Lithuanian group, who detected the leak and then informed the FA so that the football officials would be able to plug the hole before this information was made public to the entire world. Football Australia contacted the Office of the Australian Information Commissioner (OAIC) to inform them about a potential data breach.

The Cybernews researchers didn’t confirm precisely the total number of affected individuals, as they said this factor would require downloading the entire dataset of the football team, which would contradict their disclosure policies. However, Cybernews believes that each fan and customer of the Australian football team could have been affected.

The most common reason behind this data breach was probably a human error. Still, these mistakes represent a massive data exposure incident. Soon after the information had been made public, the FA’s platform was taken offline for a couple of hours, and people received “504 Error” messages when they were trying to register on the network for the upcoming events. However, the platform recovered later that evening.

In a statement given to the audience, FA said that they were aware of a possible data breach and they are currently investigating the matter. Currently, it is unknown how long this vulnerability has been present in the FA’s digital infrastructure. What happened with Australia’s football governing body is the latest data breach that has exposed the details of plenty of people. Last year, Optus went through a similar incident and due to the event, new legislation has been added that increased fines, reaching $50 million and even more. These rules apply to organizations that breach, lose or expose data details online.

Data breaches have become very common lately, and this is why organizations should adopt practices to protect their customer’s information. If a data breach happens in an enterprise, this event can affect the company’s reputation hugely. Furthermore, individuals who have been affected by the fact that their personal information has been exposed online can claim compensation from the companies that didn’t protect their data. More information can be found at https://www.databreachclaims.org.uk.

Types of data at risk in the sports landscapes

Players medical records and healthcare data

The health information of players is one of the most important information collected by sports organizations. This includes injury reports, medical details, and rehabilitation plans. It is vital to keep this information safe, as otherwise, if the data is accessed or leaked by unauthorized parties, the players’ careers and health can be put at risk. Data regulations in Europe are represented by GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), while the United States has HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act). The two bodies require businesses to implement strict security measures in order to protect the health information of the players.

Contracts and financial data

Another piece of information that must be kept secure is the financial data that contains everything related to contracts and salaries. Financial data breaches can lead to massive losses for players and teams, while leaked contract information gives an unfair benefit in the negotiations of other teams.

Related: Is Football A Dangerous Sport? The Most Common Injuries That Can Happen During A Match


Sports companies produce numerous multimedia content and intellectual property that can include videos, photos and live streams. Usually, the content is distributed only in the official channels. However, when a data breach happens, the videos and images can also be shared on outside platforms, which can damage the reputation of players and teams.

Fan data

Sports organizations process and collect plenty of fans’ data, including payment details and personally identifiable information (PII). This info is vital to be protected to prevent data breaches and maintain the trust of fans so that the reputation of the organization will not be hurt.

Employee data

Employee data, such as payroll details and personal information, must be kept safe to prevent data breaches that can put employees at risk and harm the reputation of  companies.

Are insider threats the biggest risk in data breaches?

When we are talking about cyberattacks, the majority of people think that data breaches happen due to external attacks. While it is true that external attacks are one of the reasons why data breaches occur, another reason that leads to the theft of information is insider threats. Insider threats are risks posed by people who have access to personal and sensitive data, such as financial information, individual details, and team strategies and use that access for unauthorized purposes.

In numerous cases, the data loss occurs because of an unintentional activity, as some employees make bad decisions about how they share or use sensitive data.

Concluding thoughts

As you have seen, data security is paramount in today’s age, where data breaches have become very common. The case of Football Australia should stand as an example that highlights why data security is crucial.

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