The Williams FW43B Formula 1 car was leaked on Friday which may not have been such a big deal except that one of its main sponsors is cybersecurity firm Acronis.
“Williams Racing planned to reveal its 2021 challenger, the FW43B, via an augmented reality app later today (5th March). However, sadly, because the app was hacked prior to launch, this will no longer be possible. We have subsequently removed the app from both the Apple App Store and Android Google Play store,” wrote Williams in a statement.
“We were very much looking forward to sharing this experience with our fans, particularly during this difficult time when being able to bring in-person experiences directly to our fans is sadly not possible. We can only apologize that this has not been possible.”
What makes the matter worse is that Acronis touted its cybersecurity credentials in the recent announcement of the Williams sponsorship.
Serguei Beloussov, CEO of Acronis, said: “We are proud to support one of the most iconic Formula One teams on the grid. With our technology, we’re ensuring the safety, accessibility, privacy, authenticity, and security (SAPAS) of Williams Racing’s workloads, data, applications, and systems. By using this design methodology, we can deliver the highest caliber of cyber protection, keeping the team’s data tamper-free and easily accessible for smooth day-to-day operations. We are committed to working with Williams Racing as they protect their edge with Acronis.”
The hack consisted of users simply extracting a bunch of data from the app including the renders of the FW43B and its new livery. CAD models of the new vehicle were also easily made available.
Although this does seem a little embarrassing for Acronis, we may want to remember that all firms make mistakes and that the team responsible for the app may not have informed the cybersecurity firm about what exactly goes in the app.