FuboTV victimized in a primetime hack.
N2K logoDec 21, 2022

FuboTV’s services were knocked out in a cyberattack that occurred at the time of the highly anticipated World Cup semifinal between France and Morocco.

FuboTV victimized in a primetime hack.

Streaming service FuboTV reported that it fell victim to a cyberattack last Wednesday that knocked out access to the service during the time of the World Cup semifinal game between France and Morocco.

How streaming was denied.

The Record reports that at around 9:20 AM on Wednesday, the company reported an investigation into account-related issues, namely, logging into and creating accounts. They reported working to resolve the issue throughout the day, though they acknowledged at midnight that some people were still unable to access the service. The Hollywood Reporter says that a statement from the company, released Thursday morning following the incident, saying that “the incident was not related to any bandwidth constraints on Fubo’s part,” and “FuboTV takes this matter very seriously. Once we detected the attack, we immediately took steps to contain the incident and worked to restore service to all of our users as quickly as possible. Service was fully restored by last evening. We deeply regret the disruption caused by this incident in the meantime.” The statement has since been updated, noting that disruptions to the service are no longer a concern, and that the World Cup final went off without a hitch.

Some industry color commentary on the FuboTV disruption.

Nabil Hannan, Managing Director at NetSPI, talks about the expectations for a streaming service like FuboTV, and security to defend the service:

“With homes having access to faster internet speeds and the simplicity of using app-based streaming services, most households have started switching to paid tv subscriptions such as Hulu, YouTube TV, FuboTV, etc. They are convenient and easy to use – especially nowadays when people have multiple devices that they use and can access this service on the go. With this trend, people pay for these services with the expectation that the service will be working and available, especially during popular events such as the World Cup. Reputation and reliability are key to being able to survive in this business because there are so many other options if the quality of service starts degrading. Knowing this, we see attackers often use times when the demands on the services are high to try and execute attacks.

“These services also often pay for bandwidth and processing power (cloud computing in most cases) to service their customers. If attackers can identify vulnerabilities that can impact the availability of service, this will have a negative impact on the end users of the service. Attacks such as DDoS attacks are commonly used to disrupt such services. Even though in the case of FuboTV, there may not be many details provided on what weakness specifically allowed attackers to breach their systems, just like any other service provider, building security in and adding defense in depth techniques when deploying systems, is table stakes for businesses today to be more resilient to cyber-attacks.”

Ben Johnson, CTO and Co-founder of Obsidian Security, discusses the incident and the impact this time of year has on the activity of threat actors:

“While details are still sparse regarding exactly what happened with FuboTV, this incident should serve as a reminder that attacks don’t always need to be about exfiltration of data or deep access to an environment—denial, disruption, and degradation can be very effective tactics for cyberattackers to achieve desired outcomes.

“As these attacks tend to ramp up during holiday periods when teams are even more short staffed, organizations need to be especially wary of threat actors. It is recommended that teams remind employees to add extra scrutiny to unexpected emails and ensure the right incident response runbooks and communications are in place to significantly bolster companies’ chances at addressing holiday cyber threats.”

Karen Worstell, Senior Cybersecurity Strategist at VMware, discusses the temptation of the holiday season for malicious actors:

“Cybercriminals know that major world celebrations, events, and holidays are a prime time to launch cyberattacks. When it comes to popular events like the World Cup, many people around the globe are tuning in through streaming apps and services, creating a greater attack vector – especially when vigilance is low, and password protection methods like multi-factor authentication are overlooked. During this season it is more important than ever for everyone to be extra vigilant.

“Large organizations know well the drill of cyber attacks during the holiday season. During weekends or holidays, organizations may be tempted to operate with a reduced staff, resulting in longer incident response times and more potential damage. A best practice is to anticipate the increased level of cybercrime during the holiday season and create incentives and bonus time off for leadership and detection and response teams so they can remain on full alert with prime response capability.”