Formula 1 website attacked by Anonymous, brought down by DDoS

Filed Under: Denial of Service, Featured, Law & order, Vulnerability

Racing car. Image from ShutterstockAnonymous hacktivists appear to have successfully blasted the Formula 1 website off the net, with a distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attack.

The internet attack against comes just ahead of Bahrain's highly controversial hosting of the Formula 1 Grand Prix this weekend, which is planned to take place despite violent protests in the country.

F1 website

Under the banner of "#OpBahrain", Anonymous hackers also defaced a website associated with Formula 1 racing, and posted a press release:

Message from Anonymous

Part of the message read:

For over one year the people of Bahrain have struggled against the oppressive regime of King Hamad bin Al Khalifa. They have been murdered in the streets, run over with vehicles, beaten, tortured, tear gassed, kidnapped by police, had their businesses vandalised by police, and have tear gas thrown in to their homes on a nightly basis.

Still the regmine persists to deny any meaningful reform and continues to use brutal and violent tactics to oppress the popular calls for reformation. Not only is the Human Rights situation in Bahrain tragic, it becomes more drastic with each passing day. For these reasons the F1 Grand Prix in Bahrain should be strongly opposed. The Al Khalifa regime stands to profit heavily off the race and has promised to use live ammunition against protestors in preparation. They have already begun issuing collective punishment to entire villages for protests and have promised further retribution "to keep order" for the F1 events in Bahrain. The Formula 1 racing authority was well-aware of the Human Rights situation in Bahrain and still chose to contribute to the regime's oppression of civilians and will be punished.

Attacks against websites are hardly likely to change the minds of the Grand Prix organisers, but there's no doubt that these actions do make even more people aware of the controversy surrounding the race this weekend.

DDoS attacks are one of the favourite weapons in Anonymous's armoury. Just earlier this month, Anonymous supporters successfully launched DDoS attacks against websites belonging to the British Home Office and 10 Downing Street.

Internet users are reminded that denial-of-service attacks are illegal. If you participate in such an attack you could find yourself receiving a lengthy jail sentence.

Racing car image, from ShutterStock

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26 Responses to Formula 1 website attacked by Anonymous, brought down by DDoS

  1. Robert Gracie · 1264 days ago

    Seriously how long is it gonna take to stop these hackers...their reign has gone on long enough now its time for some action against these guys they have GOT TO BE STOPPED they have had their fun so now stop now and save your honour before the US Government and others goes after you

    • Dan T · 1263 days ago

      If it wasn't for people with similar minds of these hackers in our past, you wouldn't have a US Government to live under and peacefully speak your mind on the internet. Do you dislike these hackers, because you support an oppressive government like Bahrain that murders its citizens? Have you never felt pain, or cared for anther person in your life?

  2. dougd · 1264 days ago

    While the actions of Bahrain's government are despicable, vigilantism is also despicable. Two wrongs make a bigger wrong.

  3. dirtigr00vz · 1264 days ago

    Sounds fair enough... It raises awareness about the issues in Bahrain and doesn't harm the general public. There can't be any argument here.

  4. Zakiti A. Shardmind · 1264 days ago

    Evil reciprocates until it is stopped, and the first step is shining a light onto the infestation.

  5. Yes, because a DDoS is completely on equal footing with totalitarian regimes murdering and torturing their citizens. Get a grip folks.

  6. Marlon · 1264 days ago

    Vigilantism is despicable?? At least someone is making a proper stand. Which, in this day and age of single minded individualism should be commended. While I am an F1 fan I have found there determination to take the race to Bahrain completely unacceptable, Bernie Eccleston needs to stop thinking about his bank balance for a while and realise that F1 is purely a sport and not a reason to exacerbate existing deficits of democracy.

  7. well well well...welldone

  8. Ralph · 1264 days ago

    What a pair of pr**ks the 2 previous commentators are! You keep apologising for these people and you may well find yourself on the wrong side when the revolution comes! Or will you change sides to suit you?

  9. Go Get Them Tiger · 1264 days ago

    DougD I agree , we should just stick our heads in the sand and forget about it.

  10. Anonymous · 1264 days ago

    Anon will continue to do as they please. It is simply... their way. You cannot stop a force that has no number, no face, no body. They simply are, and they will be for quite a long time. There is nothing we can do stop them. Accept it.

  11. F1111 · 1264 days ago

    I can't wait to watch the race in Bahrain.

  12. Can we please stop calling Anonymous 'Hackivists'. They are not activists any more than the local vandal who trashes stores he doesn't like.

  13. Freida Gray · 1264 days ago

    Formula 1 racing would be nothing without their drivers.Anonymous has proven that they are able to hack sites.They didn't need to pull a DDoS attack to get their message heard.All they had to do was access a list of drivers that have signed up for the race < then send their message to those drivers & ask them to drop out of the race on what ever grounds they could find.No drivers.... no race in Bahrain.

    • Lateral · 1262 days ago

      I don't think anon have proven they can hack any site they want - I think they've only shown they can hack sites that are of interest to them that they've found to be vulnerable.

      Hacking and defacing the F1 site with a message about their cause - visible to the many millions who would read it on race day - would have been a far more effective means of spreading their message than DDOS. The Bahrain race has been on the calendar for months and they've had plenty of time to take a swing at the site. I imagine DDOS was their last resort because they couldn't hack it.

      If they tried to hack 1000 sites and fail on 999 of them you won't hear about it. Guaranteed you'll hear about the 1 they do hack though - it's just how news works.


  14. Gary Seymour · 1263 days ago

    This is a DDoS attack, surely this was done with a botnet? Something ANY hacktivist group wouldn't be involved in as it's not hacking it's childish.

    However on this occasion I'm with them, nobody in power should treat their citizens the way the people of Bahrain are being treated, we proved that with Hitler!

  15. stan · 1263 days ago

    I think anything that inceases the awareness of the problem is for the good and lets be clear, taking down the F1 site has no real consequences other than giving some more free publicity to the problem.

  16. Casper · 1263 days ago

    Just like other sport and large events, you would have thought the security team would have prevented their systems from being compromised by a DDoS attack but then again how would expect there to be a DDoS attack againt an F1 webstie? I agree with others that anonymous need to stop this vandalism.

  17. Andrew · 1262 days ago

    As much as I do not like the way the government of Bahrain treat their citizens, Anon have proven themselves to be a bunch of self serving immature children. They have mistreated the general public more often than they have damaged the corporations/governments who they have problems with. They had a problem with Sony so they released millions of users details. They have a problem with a police officer so they release his families information. I am all for protesting and making change but when that change then targets innocent bystanders you are no better than the tyrants in the first instance.

    What amazes me is that people still defend this group and call them honourable fighters for justice when they have shown time again that they are nothing more than selfish brats. So this time their aims lined up with common decency, what about next time when they attack a service you use because one user was banned for trolling a forum and they rally everyone in their group to exact vengance?

  18. Against Hackers · 1261 days ago

    It still amazes me how stupid these people are! These hacktivists are the same as rioters who stone the ordinary man in the street's shop window during their rant against the government of a country that have abused Human Rights of the poeple. They are hitting out on the wrong people, if they've got a vengence against the government, attack the government not the ones who have opened the world eyes to the human right abusers. If these hacktivist's only thought, instead of hacking a smallish site like the and putting a DDoS on it, they should have put their skills into DDoS all or one of the Governments websites instead or maybe another thought, maybe these hacktivists are actually goverment employers out to cause disruptions to the world web sites and take whats really going on in the country, away from prying eyes.

  19. ghostintheshell · 1261 days ago

    We did to raise awareness of Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, on hunger strike for 70 days and close to death, not to mention the other 30 plus people murdered by this represive regime. If the UK, US and "good ole Bernnie" gave a damn about life rather than money we miight not need to take this kind of action.

    We are Anonymous. We are Legion. We do not forgive. We do not forget. Expect us!

  20. Nigel · 1261 days ago

    Anyone who insists the Anonymous clowns are courageous heroes is a very confused individual. It takes no courage to hide in the shadows and target sites or people that are too weak to defend themselves.

    The despicable behavior of the repressive regime in Bahrain has nothing to do with it. That's a separate issue, completely unrelated to the unethical, invasive tactics of the Anonymous jerks. They're snipers. They're cowards. They're criminals.

    Only the most weak-minded fool would fall for the ploy they're using to garner support for their childish games. So they come out in favor of a "cause" that no decent person could possibly object to...big deal. That doesn't transform their crimes into acts of heroism. If a thief says he's opposed to murder, that doesn't make him any less a thief.

    I can't believe that this is even a debate. Those who defend Anonymous have no moral compass, no ethical anchor, and no ability to discern between right and wrong.

  21. ghostintheshell · 1261 days ago

    You "can't beleve it's even a debate"? Of course, let me guess, your moral compass is always right so the rest of us shouldn't even question it. It works the same in Bahrain, "don't questions us we know what best for you". None of us live in a real democracy, not even you. Sometimes people have to make their voice heard from the shadows for fear of inapropriate levels of retaliation, but it won't stop people taking a risk for something they beleive in. We down a few web sites to cost these people a bit of time and money and be a gereral pain in the ass, no one get hurt! What we also do is let TPTB know in this arena (the internet) no one government or company can call all the shots. This is our world and we WILL have a say!

  22. Did they really do that?

    Nevertheless, I read several reports saying nothing of a major concern happened and that it "went off without a hitch".

  23. karl · 1183 days ago

    the site is down again 10th july 2012

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley