Hacking For Dummies

I have waffled back and forth on whether to address this “hacking” scandal.  Given the lack of information, it is difficult to address it beyond just a surface pass.  I will attempt it, however, so as not to be accused of ignoring an important story.

The news broke yesterday that there was a federal investigation into an intrusion into the databases of the Houston Astros, by a person or persons believed to be employed by the St. Louis Cardinals.  This intrusion occurred sometime during Spring Training of 2014 and information gleaned from that intrusion was publicized sometime afterward by the online publication known as Deadspin.  (The information was originally posted on a site called Anonbin, but that site appears to no longer exist).  The intrusion occurred from a computer located in a house in Jupiter, FL, often used by employees of the Cardinals.

The information obtained from the intrusion was proprietary information about scouting, players, and conversations about trade discussions between the Astros and other teams (including the Cardinals).  The NY Times article cites investigators’ belief that the intrusion and subsequent publication of information was done in an attempt to embarrass Astros GM Jeff Luhnow (formerly employed by the Cardinals) probably by vengeful employees of the Cardinals.    Both MLB and the Cardinals have issued public statements that both are cooperating fully with the investigation, but provide no further details.

The Wall Street Journal reported that the investigation is focused on mid to low level employees of the Cardinals.  The Houston Chronicle has reported that the investigation has narrowed down 4 to 5 suspects, and the FBI expects to complete its investigation soon.

This is what we know about the investigation.

This is what I think.  The fact that investigators so easily traced the intrusion back to the source says that the perpetrators were not sophisticated enough to hide their tracks, leaving a trail back to the IP address is the work of a novice.  Anyone with a moderate amount of computer savvy would know to use one of the options available out there to thwart a trace (a VPN service, TOR, etc).  In my mind this eliminates a concerted effort by higher ups in the FO, which apparently is the conclusion of the investigators as well.  In addition, the fact that the results compiled from the intrusion were shared on the internet leads me to believe this was not an attempt to gain a competitive advantage, but to harm Jeff Luhnow in some fashion.  If one wanted to use the information covertly to gain an advantage, releasing it publicly would be the antithesis of such a strategy.

If the investigation is indeed wrapped up soon, we will know before long the who, what, where and why of what occurred.  A fast resolution is the best thing that can happen in this situation, avoiding distraction during the season, and putting a stop to the rampant and harmful speculation currently going on in the media and on the internet.  Articles like this ridiculous one, will hopefully cease, and the Cardinals can get back to the more important business of running the franchise.

What a conclusion to the investigation won’t do is end the hatred that exists for the Cardinals organization, a hatred that until this story broke, was based on irrational reasons grounded in the success of the organization and a misunderstanding and misleading interpretations of the Cardinals principles of operation, known as “The Cardinal Way”.  The hatred will continue, and it will be buttressed by these recent events, regardless of the outcome.  Even if the higher echelons in the organization are completely exonerated, and the villains are found to be rogue employees of the Cardinals acting on their own, those who hate the Cardinals will ignore that and will add to their repertoire of hate words like “cheaters” and “criminals”.

Be prepared for it Cardinal Nation, it is going to be a very bumpy ride.

Thank you for reading.

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