Security Experts:

Super Bowl Fans Warned About Vulnerable NFL Mobile App

With just a few days until the New England Patriots face the Seattle Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX, researchers warn that at least one of the official National Football League (NFL) mobile applications is plagued by serious vulnerabilities that expose users’ personal information.

According to Wandera, a company that provides mobile data gateway solutions for enterprises, the official NFL Mobile apps for iOS and Android are vulnerable to man-in-the-middle (MitM) attacks.

Researchers noticed that while the initial login to an NFL account is secure, the customer’s username and password are leaked by the mobile application in a secondary unencrypted API call. Another issue identified by experts is that the application leaks usernames and email addresses in an unencrypted cookie immediately after the user logs in, and subsequently when the app makes calls to domains.

With this information in hand, a malicious hacker could gain access to the targeted user’s profile, which contains details such as name, email address, postal address, phone number, occupation, date of birth, gender, occupation, and links to social networks. This information can also be intercepted through MitM attacks because the profile page is unencrypted, Wandera said.

The company has not attempted to purchase any NFL merchandise during its analysis, so it’s uncertain if an attacker can gain access to any financial information after hacking into an account.

“NFL Mobile is a relatively popular app with our US customers,” noted Eldar Tuvey, CEO of Wandera. “It is ironic that just like a quarterback being vulnerable to an interception, the NFL app is vulnerable to a man-in-the-middle attack that puts users data at risk of interception by hackers.”

According to Tuvey, 23% of Wandera’s US customers have at least one employee using the NFL Mobile app and the number will probably increase significantly with the Super Bowl just around the corner.

“A very high percentage of users reuse passwords across multiple accounts, so the email/password combination for NFL Mobile may also be the same as those used to access sensitive corporate data, banking sites, or other high value targets,” Tuvey said. “Moreover, date-of-birth, name, address and phone number are the exact building blocks required to initiate a successful identity theft from the NFL fans.”

Wandera has not analyzed any other applications developed by NFL Enterprises, such as NFL Now and NFL Fantasy Football, but Tuvey believes they might be affected by similar vulnerabilities. 

The company’s representatives told SecurityWeek that they notified NFL on Monday morning, but they haven’t heard back.

*Updated to clarify that the Android application is also vulnerable

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.