FBI Investigating St. Louis Cardinals for Hacking Astros
?The FBI and U.S. Department of Justice are investigating whether St. Louis Cardinals� officials hacked into the Houston Astros� internal networks to steal information about player personnel. The development marks the first time a professional sports team has come under scrutiny for corporate espionage against a rival.
Investigators discovered evidence that the Cardinals� front-office officials broke into a network of the Astros that housed special databases the team had built, The New York Times reports. The breach compromised internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics, and scouting reports, according to officials who spoke with the Times.
The Cardinals officials at the center of the in?vestigation have not been named or put on leave, suspended, or fired. Law enforcement officials believe the �hacking was executed by vengeful front-office employees for the Cardinals hoping to wreak havoc on the work of Jeff Luhnow, the Astros� general manager who had been a successful and polarizing executive with the Cardinals until 2011,� the Times reports.
When Luhnow went to the Astros, he created �Ground Control��an easy-to-use interfacethat gives executives instant access to player statistics, video, and communications with other front offices around baseball, according to Deadspin.�
Documents allegedly obtained from the database were posted online at Anonbin, a site that lets users anonymously share hacked or leaked information, in 2013. Deadspin and other media outlets discovered the documents, and confirmed their authenticity with Major League Baseball (MLB) executives. Meanwhile, the Astros notified MLB security, which notified the FBI, launching an investigation to find those responsible.�
�It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information,� the Astros said in an official statementfollowing the discovery of the breach. �While it does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion of the material was embellished or completely fabricated.�
Initially investigators believed the Astros� network had been compromised by a rogue hacker, but further scrutiny revealed that the network had been entered from a computer at a home that some Cardinals officials had lived in. The FBI then focused its efforts on the Cardinals� front office staff.
Investigators believe that Cardinals officials, worried that Luhnow may have taken proprietary baseball information to the Astros, examined a master list of passwords he and other officials that joined the Astros with him may have used. The Cardinal officials may then have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros� network, according to the Times.
Subpoenas have been served to the Cardinals and MLB for electronic correspondence, and the investigation is being led by the FBI�s Houston Field Office. The MLB �has been aware of and has fully cooperate with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros� baseball operations database,� a spokesman for Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement.�
The Cardinals currently have the best record in baseball this season and are one of the most successful teams in MLB, reaching the National League Championship Series nine times since 2000 with 11 titles over all.