9:57pm: The breach in the Astros’ computer system was traced to a home in Jupiter, Florida, where the Cardinals hold Spring Training, a source tells Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports. Per the report, “a number of Cardinals employees used the house.” That could make it more difficult to determine precisely who accessed the database, though of course investigators surely possess means of acquiring that information.
Passan also notes that, per his source, “the breach involved more than taking old passwords” from Luhnow “and inputting them into a website.” Indeed, there were initially concerns in the league office that more information might ultimately be made public than has been revealed to date.
3:44pm: Cardinals front office officials are being investigated by the FBI in connection to the 2013 hacking of the Astros’ Ground Control database, reports Michael S. Schmidt of the New York Times. According to Schmidt, federal investigators have uncovered evidence which indicates that Cardinals officials were the ones to break into the Astros’ network and databases, leading to the compromise of trade discussions, proprietary statistics and scouting reports.
At this point, it’s unclear which officials are being investigated, but Schmidt reports that no one with the team has been put on leave, suspended or fired at this time. Subpoenas have been served to both the Cardinals and Major League Baseball. In a statement to Schmidt, a spokesperson for commissioner Rob Manfred said that MLB “has been aware of and has fully cooperated with the federal investigation into the illegal breach of the Astros’ baseball operations database.”
Schmidt continues to say that the “hacking” was rather low-grade, as it’s believed that Cardinals officials gained entry by using a master list of passwords from Jeff Luhnow and those who followed him from the St. Louis front office to the Houston front office. The current belief among investigators is that Cardinals officials were concerned that Luhnow took proprietary information from St. Louis’ Redbird system — a network similar to Ground Control — and applied the information to his new system in Houston.
Schmidt adds that some law enforcement officials believe the breach to be the result of “vengeful” Cardinals employees “hoping to wreak havoc” on Luhnow’s work in Houston. The Astros believed the hacking to be random and notified the FBI, who learned that the Ground Control network had been accessed from a home in which a Cardinals official had lived.
The breach ultimately led to a good deal of private Astros information becoming public knowledge, including trade discussions that brought a good deal of scrutiny on the Houston organization. At the time, the Astros issued the following statement:
“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 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 remains to be seen what kind of punishments will be issued if the Cardinals are indeed proved to be behind the incident. However, this is certainly the type of offense that would cost executives their jobs, and there could very well be further legal repercussions for those involved, as well as further punishments issued to the organization by the league.