England-Based Football Association Boosts Security After Hacking Incident

After falling prey to hackers, England's Football Association is playing tighter defense online as it prepares for next year's World Cup. As part of its security strategy, it's asking players and staff to avoid open WiFi networks.

England’s Football Association (FA), hit by a series of recent data breaches, is ramping up its defensive strategy to guard against hacking.

The sport’s governing body in England was targeted by the anonymous hacking group Fancy Bear, which has also hit the World Anti-Doping Agency and individual athletes and has been associated with last year’s attack on the Democratic National Committee in the U.S.  Last month, Fancy Bear leaked communications between FA and the international soccer body FIFA that discussed cases involving potential doping rule violations.

“The Football Association is disappointed that strictly confidential information has been released into the public domain. The details of ongoing cases cannot be discussed or disclosed until due legal process has been completed,” FA said at the time, according to The Independent.

The association has been pushing for stronger security standards internally and among athletes ahead of next year’s World Cup, which will take place in Russia, especially since that country has been linked with recent high-profile cyberattacks.

Among other things, to help shore up security, FA has called on players, coaches, and staff members to avoid the use of open wireless networks, even at hotels, during tournaments next year, according to the BBC.

In comments reported by The New York Times, FIFA confirmed having communicated with FA about last month’s incident.

“We can confirm that the FA has sent a letter to FIFA related to the Fancy Bears attack,” a FIFA spokesman said. “In its reply, FIFA has informed the FA in such context that FIFA remains committed to preventing security attacks in general, and that with respect to the Fancy Bears attack in particular it is presently investigating the incident to ascertain whether FIFA’s infrastructure was compromised.”

(Thomas Northcut/DigitalVision/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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