Buccaneers vs. Chiefs. Tom Brady vs. Patrick Mahomes. Super Bowl LV featured an enticing matchup between two powerhouse teams and two star quarterbacks. But amidst this exciting sports action, there was a game within a game – a match-up with a lot more riding on the line than a trophy: Hackers vs. network defenders.

Major global events attract fans and onlookers, but they also draw in malicious cyber actors who would consider disrupting the event a coup. It could be a prankster doing it for the "lulz," a cyber activist looking to make a statement, a cybercriminal running an extortion scheme or a nation-state sowing chaos.

“High-profile events beget high-profile credibility among hacking circles,” said Jerry Ray, chief operating officer of SecureAge. “State-sponsored actors often use international events as practice against well-funded and modern security measures, or as an opportunity to flex some cyber muscle when allowing for modest attribution with just a pinch of plausible deniability. And when fully attributable, a country may attack for the sake of national pride or retaliation.”

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