The Times has reported that Liverpool football club has paid £1 million to Premier League champions Manchester City to settle a data breach incident that involved the hacking of the latter’s online scouting network in 2013 by a rival club.
The incident took place in 2013 when Manchester City’s Scout7 online scouting network was broken into and illegally accessed by hackers sponsored by a rival club. The database contained information about players around the globe who were being pursued by the club for future contracts.
After the club discovered that the online scouting network was breached, it hired computer espionage experts to investigate the incident and uncover the identities of the hackers. The breach incidentally took place just before the club signed midfielder Fernandinho and winger Jesus Navas in deals totalling £54 million.
Acquired by Perform Group in 2017, Scout7 is a popular online software used by hundreds of football clubs not only to look into profiles of promising players but also to monitor pitch performances of players.
Both clubs mum about the hush-hush data breach settlement
If news about Liverpool FC paying £1 million to Manchester City FC to settle the 2013 data breach is correct, it indicates that Manchester City was possibly planning to pursue legal action against the former, something that could have seriously damaged the club’s reputation not only in public but also in the football world.
Both Liverpool FC and Manchester City FC have so far not issued any statements confirming or denying the data breach settlement.
When asked about the data breach and the subsequent payment made by Liverpool FC to settle the matter during a press conference, Manchester City FC manager Pep Guardiola neither confirmed nor denied it, stating that in today’s world, nothing is hidden from the public.
“Today there are not secrets any more. Look what happened in the big governments in the states and Russia and everywhere everyone knows it. No secrets anymore. You want to keep a secret? Don’t tell to a friend, on devices or mobile phone, today anything can happen,” he said.
Between 23 April and 4 May this year, unnamed hackers gained access to Leicester City FC’s online system and stole financial information of supporters who visited the club’s official retail store and entered their personal information. Such information included card numbers, expiry dates, CVV numbers, and cardholder names.
The security breach was discovered in May, following which Leicester City FC emailed affected users to inform them about the breach and also notified the Information Commissioner’s Office.