New information-sharing and analysis organization (ISAO) looks to provide threat intelligence to a broad range of professional and amateur sports organizations.

The need for threat intelligence-sharing among sports organizations has become abundantly clear. Pick a case: The hacking of the NFL’s Twitter account this past June. News that Russian-state hacking organization Fancy Bear allegedly released the medical records of  prominent US Olympic athletes. Or, the recent decision by a federal judge to sentence former St. Louis Cardinals scout Christopher Correa to 46 months in prison for hacking into the scouting records of the Houston Astros.
It’s a no-brainer that sports organizations generate billions in revenue and provide an attractive target for hackers.

Enter the new sports information-sharing and analysis organization (ISAO), which started as a pilot program during the 2016 Olympics in Rio this past summer.
Douglas DePeppe, co-founder of the Sports ISAO, says the ISAO plans to launch formally either later this year or in early 2017.
ISAOs stem from a 2015 Obama administration executive order to create intel-sharing groups around specific communities much like information sharing and analysis centers (ISAC) formed over the past 10- to 15 years.
“We saw everything that was happening in the news with sports and knew about the Obama administration efforts so we thought there was just a tremendous need for a Sports ISAO,” DePeppe explains. “The idea is to build an organization that would feed threat information to professional, college and high school sports organizations much like the FS-ISAC supports the financial industry.”
Jane Ginn, also a co-founder of the Sports ISAO, says the organization uses ThreatConnect as its main threat intelligence platform.
Security analysts then use ThreatConnect to manage threat intelligence feeds from the FBI, Department of Homeland Security and other government organizations, open source feeds, and a passive DNS database from Farsight Security that’s integrated into ThreatConnect.
Ginn says Farsight has built a database of historical DNS information that dates back to 2010. When the Sports ISAO security analysts see something suspicious appear in ThreatConnect, they can then query the Farsight database to learn more about a specific threat.
DePeppe says another aspect of the ISAO is working with the community to develop talent in the industry. He says the Sports ISAO has been working closely with Mercyhurst University in Pennsylvania to provide internships and develop security analysts.
“There’s a tremendous shortage of people in the security industry and we’re working with Mercyhurst and other institutions to develop programs that will train professionals to do this kind of threat intelligence work,” DePeppe says.
DePeppe adds that in the next 30 days the Sports ISAO will release a detailed report on the research it conducted during the Rio Olympics.  Some of the topics will include the hacktivists who targeted the Brazilian government during the Olympics as well as US Olympians victimized by hackers. 
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Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience, most of the last 24 of which were spent covering networking and security technology.
Steve is based in Columbia, Md.
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