• Maria Holler

Private Clubs Are On The Front Line For Cyber Attacks


Let’s start by examining the Colonial Pipeline attack. An attack was made to the pipeline that transports 45% of fuel to the entire East Coast. The group responsible for this attack, “DarkSide,” actually issued something of an apology by claiming they just wanted payment and did not mean to cause a disruption to society.



Most people think that cyber criminals are after big corporations where they can demand large payments for the recovery. That is not the case at all. Cyber criminals typically fall into two distinct categories; those who do it for fun to prove that they can and those who commit these acts for money. The problem in the club industry is that we are targets of both of these. In the first 5 months of 2021 we have seen at least 5 major attacks in the club industry. Two of those attacks caused shutdowns of club websites. In addition, club management spent time and money trying to recover from the attack and protect the club's reputation.


We have been saying for years that it is not “if” a club will be a victim of a cyber-attack, but “when.” Well that “when” is 2021 for many clubs. Last year medium and small businesses were attacked every 14 seconds. Most attacks were ransomware attacks and the average ransom demanded increased from $115,000 to almost $300,000.


Going forward the phrase that all club professionals will hear over and over is “Duty of Care.” Simply put, this means that the club leadership is taking preemptive actions to protect the PII (Personally Identifiable Information) of their members. Preventing attacks is almost impossible, but putting known measures in place that can minimize the impact is just good practice and duty of care.


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