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The St. Louis Cardinals are accused of hacking the Houston Astros

St Louis Cardinals

A plot straight out of a 1996 science fiction thriller jumped into the sports section on Tuesday, as the New York Times broke the story of an FBI investigation into the St. Louis Cardinals alleged hacking of the Houston Astros' internal scouting system.

The story goes something like this: After spending a number of years as a player personnel executive in St. Louis, Jeff Luhnow left in 2011 to become the Astros' general manager, taking a number of the Cardinals' personnel men with him. While in St. Louis, Luhnow developed a network called "Redbird," where the organization housed all of its electronic scouting reports and player personnel information. He did the same in Houston.

"Investigators have uncovered evidence that Cardinals officials broke into a network of the Houston Astros that housed special databases the team had built, according to law enforcement officials," the times writes. "Internal discussions about trades, proprietary statistics and scouting reports were compromised, the officials said."

St. Louis, purportedly suspicious Luhnow took proprietary information with him to Houston, hacked the system. Turns out, the Astros became aware they'd been hacked and told Major League Baseball. MLB notified the FBI, and traced the source back a home of a Cards executive, and now here we are.

What can college football programs learn from this?

1. Don't hack your opponents' computer systems. This goes without saying.

2. Change your passwords, especially when you leave one rival organization for another. The Cardinals apparently made their way into the Astros system by guessing one of Luhnow's old passwords.

"Investigators believe Cardinals officials... examined a master list of passwords used by Mr. Luhnow and the other officials who had joined the Astros when they worked for the Cardinals," the Times notes. "The Cardinals officials are believed to have used those passwords to gain access to the Astros’ network, law enforcement officials said."