The 2021 Masters Tournament is taking place this week at Augusta National Golf Club in Augusta, Georgia – only five months since the 2020 Masters which was held in November due to COVID-19. The azaleas are in full bloom and the best-of-the-best professional golfers are geared up to compete in the 85th Masters. But what if the best-of-the-best cybersecurity protocols are not up to par?
Things have been unusual and unprecedented for golf clubs and the PGA this past year, like holding the Masters in November, and cybersecurity has been no different. Cyberattacks increased in 2020 and are likely to continue that pattern in 2021 and beyond. Cybercriminals used the COVID-19 pandemic to their advantage by using newly exposed vulnerabilities in organizations. Cyber breaches can be detrimental to organization’s sensitive information, reputation, and finances.
Not even world-renowned Augusta National is immune to the attacks of cybercriminals. It is important for businesses and organizations of any industry to implement cybersecurity protocols – even golf clubs. Augusta National Golf Club is a private club, like many golf clubs. However, unlike most private clubs, Augusta National operates as a for-profit club and does not disclose income, holdings, membership list, or ticket sales. It would be untoward if this information were to be breached by cybercriminals.
A cyber breach occurred at the prestigious Wentworth Golf Club in the U.K. which serves as the headquarters for the European PGA tour and the host of the annual PGA championships. Wentworth fell victim to a ransomware attack from an “unauthorized third party” that stole detailed information about the club’s 4,000 members. This breach occurred just a few months ago in January 2021. The exclusive club is home to many high-profile members in England and the breach exposed personal information including name, gender, home address, email address, landline number, and date of birth according to the Wentworth general manager. More can be found on this breach here.
Wentworth was not the first club to fall victim to a cyberattack and certainly will not be the last. Even PGA of America fell victim to a cyber breach in 2018 just days before the 2018 PGA Championship. Officials and staff were unable to access promotional files like logos and signage. Promotional material for the Ryder Cup that was taking place one month later were also compromised in the ransomware attack on PGA of America. More on this breach can be found here.
The winner of the 2021 Masters Tournament will receive the famous green jacket and $11.5 million - poor cybersecurity could cost your organization more than the Masters purse. The average cost of a breach in the United States is more than twice the global average and soars upwards of $8 million as of 2019. This cost goes beyond just lost data and information with downtime and customer loss being the top expenses pertaining to a cyber breach.
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