Business Ethics Training Lacking: Cardinals Embroiled in Hacking Scandal

According to a New York Times report, the Saint Louis Cardinals (one of the most successful professional sports teams of the past fifty years) are under FBI investigation for allegedly hacking into the proprietary data of the Houston Astros, another MLB team, in an attempt to steal secret data about the Astros’ trade negotiations and player evaluations. This scandal comes on the heels of the FIFA international corruption scandal and displays the utter lack of regard for business ethics in high-level sports today.

Breaking into Network Brings to Light Data Privacy Issues

According to the Times report, the FBI investigation revealed that Cardinals officials broke into the Astros network and stole information from special databases that had been built by the team. While the information stolen may not seem to be a major security breach to the casual sports fan, in reality the scouting reports and negotiation data provided a major upper hand when left unprotected. Further, the attack calls into question the security of the personal information and data that was stored in the Astros’ network. In any event, if the allegations prove true there was a massive ethics violation that occurred on several levels.

Employees of the Cardinals the Focus of the Investigation

Not surprisingly, lower-level employees of the Cardinals organization are the subject of the investigation, and the Department of Justice is not saying whether the investigation revealed that Cardinals executives knew or instructed the attack. In either case, it is clear that the training system in place at the organizational level was lacking, as Cardinals employees were apparently allowed to hack unfettered into the private data of another team.

Perhaps most disturbing, the FBI believes that the attack was intended to disrupt the operations of a former Cardinals executive who now works for the Astros, which evidences a malicious intent on behalf of the Cardinals as a whole. Finally, the report indicates that the employees may have used a list of passwords from the former executive’s time with the Cardinals to hack into the Astros data.

Many of the Issues Involved in the Attack can be addressed by Training

Although the aforementioned story may sound like fantasy to your business, rogue employees attempting revenge on a former executive by stealing proprietary information is all too common in the private and public sectors. For this reason it is extremely important to train your managers and employees on the consequences of ethical and data breaches and how best to avoid them. Although the MLB situation is public and high-level, similar breaches on a smaller scale can lead to significant civil and criminal penalties in any industry.

Syntrio is committed to helping businesses maintain the highest standards of ethical and data privacy compliance by helping companies demonstrate their commitment to compliance with state and federal laws and business ethics standards.  Contact for more information about our business ethics courses and remember to follow us on TwitterGoogle Plus and LinkedIn for daily updates on employment law and compliance issues that may impact your organization!