Security Strategy, Plan, Budget, Critical Infrastructure Security

CISA, NFL Partner for Super Bowl Cybersecurity Prep

Soccer or football tactics scribble with the trainers whistle and pointer stick on blackboard. Great soccer event this year

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), National Football League (NFL) and other partners in September 2023 conducted a tabletop exercise to "explore, assess and enhance cybersecurity response capabilities, plans and procedures ahead of Super Bowl LVIII."

This exercise is one of several designed to ensure the safety of events at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada for Super Bowl LVIII, which takes place February 11, 2024.

What Happened During the Super Bowl LVIII Cybersecurity Tabletop Exercise?

The exercise involved more than 100 partners from the NFL, Allegiant Stadium and federal, state and local governments, CISA indicated. It took four hours to complete.

During the exercise, participants examined a hypothetical cyberattack that included phishing, ransomware, a data breach and a potential insider threat, CISA noted. Also, they examined the attack's impact on physical systems and reviewed plans and procedures for protecting against, responding to and recovering from the incident.

What the Tabletop Exercise Means for Super Bowl LVIII Cybersecurity

The Super Bowl LVIII cybersecurity exercise was "a safe, low-stress setting to identify any gaps in [security] plans and ensure we all have a shared understanding of roles and responsibilities," said Steve Harris, CISA's deputy executive assistant director for infrastructure security. This exercise provided participants with an opportunity to identify the available resources, capabilities and best practices for a Super Bowl cyberattack. It also helps CISA, the NFL and other partners get "ready for any challenges that come our way on game day," Harris stated.

In addition, the cybersecurity exercise is "the first of many simulations" that will be completed prior to Super Bowl LVIII, according to NFL SVP and Chief Security Officer Cathy Lanier. These exercises will help ensure that the Super Bowl and its events are safe for fans, players and personnel.

CISA partners with sports leagues, teams, stadiums, arenas and other venues across the United States to develop and exercise response plans for potential threats, the agency indicated. It plans and conducts over 150 exercises each year.

Dan Kobialka

Dan Kobialka is senior contributing editor, MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E. He covers IT security, IT service provider business strategies and partner programs. Dan holds a M.A. in Print and Multimedia Journalism from Emerson College and a B.A. in English from Bridgewater State University. In his free time, Dan enjoys jogging, traveling, playing sports, touring breweries and watching football.