The Justice Department and the FBI are investigating whether someone from the St. Louis Cardinals front office illegally hacked into a Houston Astros network containing proprietary databases.
The details are sketchy at this time, but the investigation out of the Houston FBI office have already yielded subpoenas for Major League Baseball and the Cardinals. Why the Astros? Apparently some Cardinals officials are still upset about Jeff Luhnow‘s decision to take over as Astros GM after years spent with the Cardinals. From The New York Times:
The attack represents the first known case of corporate espionage in which a professional sports team has hacked the network of another team. Illegal intrusions into companies’ networks have become commonplace, but it is generally conducted by hackers operating in foreign countries, like Russia and China, who steal large tranches of data or trade secrets for military equipment and electronics.
Major League Baseball “has been aware of and has fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database,” a spokesman for baseball’s commissioner, Rob Manfred, said in a written statement.
The Cardinals officials under investigation have not been put on leave, suspended or fired. The commissioner’s office is likely to wait until the conclusion of the government’s investigation to determine whether to take disciplinary action against the officials or the team.
Apparently we are not talking about a sophisticated hack here: someone with the Cards used old passwords from Luhnow’s former Cardinals account and matched them up against the Astros database, which reportedly is similar to a database set up when Luhnow worked in player personnel with the Cards. While this is causing a stir in the baseball world, there’s no indication that it was condoned by the Cardinals, and it certainly was not condoned by Major League Baseball: MLB officials informed the FBI once they suspected an illegal hacking took place.