Two years ago, the Houston Astros constructed “Ground Control”—a built-from-scratch online database for the private use of the Astros front office. It is by all accounts a marvel, an easy-to-use interface giving executives instant access to player statistics, video, and communications with other front offices around baseball. All it needs, apparently, is a little better password protection.
The action that takes place behind the scenes in MLB front offices tends to stay in-house and is usually a well-kept secret. But a group of hackers wanted to get a peek into Pandora’s box and attempted to change that. So they decided to hack into the Houston Astros’ online database and managed to find 10 months worth of trade talks and posted the data on anonbin.com.
The Houston Astros are predictably fuming over the security breach and they say they intend to prosecute those involved. The team issued the following statement Monday regarding the leak: “Last month, we were made aware that proprietary information held on Astros’ servers and in Astros’ applications had been illegally obtained. Upon learning of the security breach, we immediately notified MLB security who, in turn, notified the FBI. Since that time, we have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the[sic] determine the party, or parties, responsible. This information was illegally obtained and published, and we intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.
“It is unfortunate and extremely disappointing that an outside source has illegally obtained confidential information. It does appear that some of the content released was based on trade conversations, a portion … was embellished or completely fabricated. We have been working closely with MLB security and the FBI to the determine the party, or parties, responsible. We intend to prosecute those involved to the fullest extent.”
The Astros say they have upgraded their system since being hacked. GM Jeff Luhnow described the leaks as frustrating.
Computer hacking crimes can be classified as misdemeanors or felonies depending on what kind of damage was done. The crimes can be punished by time in prison and/or fines.
The two pranksters who recorded a phone call between former Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix and Tampa Bay Buccaneers GM Mark Dominik and sold the recording to Deadspin had their charges from federal prosecutors dropped. They got off with community service and 18 months of conditions. What was done in this instance is much worse, so we’re expecting a harsher punishment, though not something incredibly severe.