The wheels come off Formula 1's notification service as fans plied with attacker's messages

'Foo' – not the noise of a passing car


The world of Formula 1 racing was livened up over the weekend as the sport's official app sent out some unexpected notifications on the eve of the Austrian Grand Prix.

The first simply said "foo" and was followed by another saying "Hmmmm, I should check my security.. :)"

Users of both Android and iOS versions of the app received the notifications instead of the usual pings proclaiming the greatness of the sport in which a result is sometimes decided by a mechanic dropping a clanger in the pitstop department.

F1 app notifications

Credit: 'mr0c'

The Register contacted F1 to find out what had befallen the push notification service used by its app, but the tarmac-and-tyre fans have yet to respond. Sporting publication ESPN reported a statement attributed to F1, which said: "Our investigation confirms that this targeted attack was limited to the Push Notifications Service.

"We will continue to investigate, review and improve safety measures but, at this time, have no reason to believe that any customer data has been accessed during this incident."

App notifications have proved a problem for some of the higher – and lower – profile services of late, although mainly through self-inflicted borkage. A developer for insurer Cuvva inadvertently sent a "cautionary tale" notification out to the company's customers while video slinger HBO Max infamously sent out an "Integration Test Email" notification last month.

In this case, however, F1 (or the service it uses for its app) appears to have been the victim of miscreants prodding the outfit's defences (which could be anything from a vulnerable service to a thoughtlessly secured PC.)

Having made developer favourite "foo" appear, the subsequent message can only be described as a missed opportunity. A promise to make the rest of the season free to air would have caused a proper kerfuffle. Or perhaps the announcement that Nigel Mansell or Nelson Piquet were once again on pole.

Foo, indeed. ®


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