NFL 2020 Virtual Draft Raises Cybersecurity Concerns
In hopes to return for a full-schedule 2020 season amid the pandemic, the NFL decided to host the 2020 NFL Draft online. Set to start today, April 23, it would be the first-ever virtual version of the draft.
Although innovative, the online draft raises cybersecurity concerns that may affect the process and the result. Fans, players, and team owners look forward to Draft Day every year, waiting for the selection chosen based on a pre-set order. It’s just fair that all parties involved demand transparency.
Addressing these concerns, the NFL vowed to tighten its security. In fact, the draft’s researchers and the teams themselves explained the process and how secured it is. This year, all club personnel, league staff, and prospects will all participate from home. The clubs will submit their player picks to the league office through Microsoft Teams. For the communications before and during the draft, team personnel will connect to club personnel and other prospects through Zoom—a decision slammed by some fans and players as the platform had its share of security and privacy issues. Zoom is currently on its 90-day feature freeze to fix these issues.
Aside from Microsoft Teams and Zoom, Amazon Web Services will host and manage the 100+ video feeds coming from prospects, general managers, and coaches during the virtual draft. For mobile communications, meanwhile, the NFL tasked Verizon to provide devices and mobile connectivity. All 58 prospects have similar phone and camera setup for broadcast and communication with the league office. Meanwhile, this event can also provide unique Bitcoin betting markets and bet types for NFL enthusiasts and alike.
Vouching for the success rate and transparency of the virtual draft, a spokesperson from the draft team said: “we have spoken individually to each of the clubs about their setup. The clubs are ultimately responsible for their communication systems among their staff. We have provided best practices and also ran a successful mock draft yesterday.”
The league will not disclose specific security measures as this will only give hackers opportunities to sabotage the draft, but according to the spokesperson, “at the league level, we are working closely with our tech partners to ensure a smooth operation throughout the three days.” IT teams will be in position during the event.