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Play Ball! CISA Holds “Tabletop Exercise” to Keep Major League Baseball Teams, Fans Cyber Safe

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) wants Major League Baseball (MLB) teams, their staff and fans to be cyber secure.

The nation’s cyber central agency recently held a “tabletop exercise” with cyber leaders from six MLB teams and 13 state and local first responder organizations from across Florida to assess how they would work together if a real-world security incident were to happen.

CISA's Focus on Florida

Florida is home to two major league teams, the Marlins located in Miami and the Rays in St. Petersburg in the Tampa Bay area. Each year, in February and March, 15 MLB teams train and play exhibition games throughout the state to prepare for the upcoming season. Some 1.5 million fans attend those games annually.

This year, with the World Baseball Classic scheduled for March 11-21 at LoanDepot Park in Miami and other locations throughout the state where 20 professional teams from around the world will compete, the cyber exercise was even more timely, officials said.

For MLB participants, security personnel and first responders, the exercise was an important opportunity to examine emergency response plans and procedures, officials said. CISA exercise specialists led participants through an open and collaborative discussion regarding pre-incident intelligence and information sharing, coordination between public and private sector partners, and incident response protocols.

Spring Training Teams Work on Cyber Defense

CISA organized the exercise, which was held concurrently at LoanDepot Park and the Port of Tampa. The exercise included representatives from the Miami Marlins, Tampa Bay Rays, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Detroit Tigers and Toronto Blue Jays. The activity delivered a deeper dive into how each team coordinates with law enforcement to keep fans, players and staff safe should a cyber incident occur.

Baseball is not alone in receiving attention from CISA. Agency officials said it conducts “dozens” of similar exercises each year with sports leagues, stadiums, concert venues and other critical infrastructure stakeholders around the country.

Commenting on the cybersecurity exercise, Jay Gamble, CISA regional director, said:

“Much like players preparing for the regular season during spring training, CISA routinely conducts exercises with government and private sector partners, including sports teams, to plan and practice a wide range of scenarios that could potentially happen during a mass gathering, whether it’s a ball game, concert or festival. This exercise will help ensure fans of America’s pastime can see their favorite players and enjoy a ballgame safely.”

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.