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Formula 1 Case Study

How FractalScan Surface helped an F1 team secure their attack surface
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F1 car on F1 track

Formula 1 is the highest class of single-seater auto racing sanctioned by the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile (FIA). As one of the most technologically advanced and high-stakes forms of motorsport, Formula 1 teams rely on sophisticated computer systems and networks to design, develop, and manage their cars.

This reliance on technology makes Formula 1 teams vulnerable to cyber threats and attacks, which can have serious consequences for their operations and performance.

Formula 1 team targeted

One notable example of a cyber attack in Formula 1 occurred in 2017, when the Renault Sport Formula One Team was targeted by hackers who managed to gain access to the team's confidential technical and strategic data.

The hackers were able to extract detailed information about the team's race cars, including design and performance data, as well as sensitive information about their strategies and tactics.

The attack was traced to a group of hackers based in Eastern Europe, who were reportedly motivated by a desire to sell the stolen data to rival teams.

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Blueprint of a F1 car

The response

In response to the Renault attack and other similar incidents, Formula 1 teams and the FIA have stepped up their efforts to improve cyber security and protect against future attacks.

This has included implementing stricter security protocols and measures, such as enhanced access controls and encrypted communications, as well as regular security assessments and audits.

Teams have also increased their focus on cyber security training and awareness for their employees, to help reduce the risk of human error and insider threats.

Risks remain significant

Despite these measures, however, the risks of cyber attacks in Formula 1 remain significant, as the sport continues to push the boundaries of technology and innovation.

As teams increasingly rely on complex systems and networks to manage and control their cars, they will need to remain vigilant and proactive in protecting against cyber threats.

This will require a combination of robust technical measures and effective organisational strategies, to ensure that Formula 1 teams are able to defend against attacks and maintain the high levels of performance and competitiveness that are essential to the sport.

View of all the components of a F1 car

Get visibility

In discussions with the CIO of a Formula 1 team, they said they were concerned about possible attacks via their website and their web assets. The team uses a third-party to produce and manage those resources using a Drupal content management system.

Their concern was they didn't know what their attack surface was. They didn't know what they didn't know, and it did not feel like they had visibility of all the web assets associated with their team. As the CIO of a Formula 1 team, they are used to having accurate data and statistics.

Their head of IT operations commented “It would be really useful to get visibility of our attack surface”.

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Actionable results

The ability of FractalScan Surface to discover all the assets and enumerate the attack surface can be a game changer.

Within the first day the head of IT operations said “FractalScan Surface highlighted an issue with our website platform. Our website is managed by a third party, and using the evidence from FractalScan Surface we were able to insist they replace and upgrade the website to improve our security”.

“What is great is you get clear and concise results with actionable intelligence”, said their CIO "and I like the reassurance of nightly scans running to check for new vulnerabilities"

By using FractalScan Surface they now feel they have complete visibility of their external assets and feel in control of the risks they face.

Pitcrew in red uniform assisting a F1 car

The results

Within days of using FractalScan Surface the overall risk for the website and web assets improved and the Formula 1 team reduced their attack surface almost immediately by updating out-of-date software they were not aware of.

They were also able to have meaningful conversations around online security with their managed service provider who creates and manages their website.

Off the back of using FractalScan Surface the team accelerated a piece of work to update their website and eliminate a number of risks.

  • The number of risks deemed as critical dropped from 10 to 0.
  • The number of high risks dropped from a peak of 22 to 5, with ongoing improvements being made.
  • The number of medium risks dropped from a high of 28 to 16.

Overall, the attack surface was drastically reduced by using FractalScan Surface; an affordable tool that provides a broad view of the team's online vulnerabilities.

F1 competition car racing

The competition

The FractalScan Surface team assessed the attack surface of all ten Formula 1 teams and performed analysis of their overall cyber security posture.

Some teams were found to have a significant number of critical risks with the highest for a single team being 212. Having any critical risks in the current climate is a ticking time bomb.

Find out how FractalScan Surface can help you and your business to reduce your attack surface today and remain at the highest level of competitive advantage.

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