GAA Football

Tyrone SFC final live stream was subject to 'cyber attack'

Problems with the live stream of the Tyrone SFC final between Trillick and Errigal Ciaran have been blamed on a 'cyber attack'. Pic Philip Walsh
Francis Mooney

TYRONE'S ill-fated live streaming of the county’s Senior Football Championship final was sabotaged by cyber attackers, it has emerged.

Viewers worldwide who paid to watch the clash of Trillick and Errigal Ciaran on October 13 were left frustrated by a sudden black-out in the second half, and efforts to restore coverage failed.

The problem was traced to a failure of the Content Delivery Network (CDN), and all subscribers received a full refund.

But Tyrone official Gerard Bradley has claimed the showpiece occasion was the target of a cyber-attack

“The Content Delivery Network company has reported that there was a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack on the data centre hosting the service,” he said.

Bradley, who heads up the county board’s Information Technology Committee, explained that a DDoS attack is a type of cyber-attack that uses compromised computers and devices to send data or request data from a targeted server.

“The purpose of these requests is to slow down and eventually crash the targeted server. There are multiple reasons for these types of cyber-attack,” he says in his report to next week’s annual convention.

“Although Tyrone GAA was not responsible for the failure of the live stream, we decided to refund all subscribers and this process was completed within 48 hours.”

The CDN company has confirmed that a new server will be dedicated to Tyrone’s streaming service for the future, and support staff will be in place at critical times.

Bradley stresses that all other live streamed matches in the county over the past two seasons have been delivered successfully and without interruption.

“Over the last two years, we have provided live streaming for 14 matches, and this is the first time we have experienced such a malfunction.

“DDoS attacks are becoming increasingly common, and in the weeks following the county final, DDoS attacks recently targeted Amazon’s S3 cloud service and a major political party involved in an election.

“We have apologised to all our subscribers and are particularly disappointed for those subscribers who have emigrated and were relying on us to receive the live stream from this match.

“While the CDN have agreed to put in place additional security and backup staff, there can never be an absolute guarantee that such an event might not occur again in the future.

“We have devised a draft strategy to deliver a backup live stream by an alternative method should the CDN service suffer a similar failure in the future.”

The Tyrone official pays tribute to all involved in the delivery of live streaming coverage, who have overcome a variety of difficulties in order to provide a quality service.

“Apart from the senior county final, the vast majority of subscribers for all the other matches, did receive high-quality live stream without any issues.

“This is no mean achievement in a county where almost all areas of the county are on a Government published ‘whitelist’ of postcodes that are designated as having no suitable infrastructure to deliver high speed broadband.”

“There are still a small minority of subscribers who cannot access the emailed link, because their email account has a firewall to block unknown emails or they are unable get an email which has been redirected to their Spam/Junk folder.”

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GAA Football