USA – Cloudfare boss revealed to BBC news that there was a cyber attack to the Eurovision Song Contest 2012 digital platform. Matthew Prince explained to BBC that his company offers security services to 10% of world’s websites and referred to the Eurovision Song Contest saying the following:
In explaining this he uses the example of why back in 2012 Cloudflare found that more than 150 Turkish escort websites signed up over a two week period. The websites told him they were all under constant attack from a conservative group that strongly disapproved of their activities.
Mr Prince says that the following year Cloudflare helped the Eurovision Song Contest defeat an attack into its website. The mystery cyber attackers turned out to be strangely familiar. “If it wasn’t the same people as those attacking the Turkish escort sites, it was the same resources,” he says. “So because we had protected the Turkish escorts we were able to help Eurovision. “They [the escort websites] may not seem attractive customers… but they helped us learn.”
During the 2012 Eurovision Song Contest semi final, the busiest time of year for the website, Eurovision.tv was targeted with a large DDoS attack. “Our content delivery network provider at that time could only do very little to mitigate the attack, and because we were using a CDN, our hosting partner couldn’t do much filtering either,” said Wouter van Vliet, Project Developer of the Eurovision Song Contest at EBU/EUROVISION. “The first flood of attack traffic was mitigated with some blocking techniques implemented by our CDN, but when the attack got more creative there was nothing more they could do.”
Wouter and his team came across CloudFlare a few months earlier and had decided to keep the service in mind in case they were in need of additional security and protection. That time came sooner than they had imagined. With the main site of Europe’s favorite TV show going down during the most critical time of the year, just days before the Grand Final, they decided they needed CloudFlare. And fast!
During the first semi final, fans of the Eurovision Song Contest access the website to find out results and to watch online streams of the contest. With the site service disrupting, visitors from around the world to Eurovision.tv experienced difficulty accessing these results and streams. It was imperative to the Eurovision Song Contest that they get back up and running.
So the Eurovision Song Contest reached out to CloudFlare. CloudFlare mitigated the DDoS attack and the site was brought back online. The editorial team and Eurovision.tv’s visitors immediately noticed the site was back in business. “We also noticed that the servers were beginning to have some space to breath again as well,” said van Vliet. “We have thrived from that moment on. CloudFlare has made our platforms much more stable, which has been a huge value for us.”