#Infosec2024: How Williams Racing Relies on Data Security for Peak Performance

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Formula 1, the pinnacle of motorsport, is driven on data and cybersecurity is key to protect the data that fuels their performance.

The Williams Racing team hold and process vast quantities of data to optimize their performance on the F1 circuit.

Infosecurity spoke to key members of the F1 Team about the cybersecurity challenges they face and how the team approaches them.

Williams relies on robust cybersecurity controls to safeguard sensitive information like vehicle designs and race strategies from theft or compromise.

Speaking to Infosecurity, James Bower, Commercial Director at Williams Racing explained that development in F1 is driven by data. He said the Williams car can change over 70% during a single season and typically less than 10% is carried over from one season to the next.

“Data, along with our people, is one of our most valuable resources. It drives our innovation and protecting it is paramount,” Bower said.

Harry Wilson, Head of Information Security at Williams Racing, told Infosecurity, “In the high-octane world of Formula 1, where split-second decisions and cutting-edge technology can make the difference between the front and the back of the grid, the need for robust cybersecurity controls has never been more crucial.”  

The Human Element at the Forefront of Cybersecurity

Research has found 68% of data breaches include a human element, with the majority caused by weak or stolen passwords.

Wilson explained that Williams has faced difficulties in putting across best practice cybersecurity advice to staff, making this a significant risk factor for the organization.

Wilson said: “When enforcing password resets for users that have clicked links in phishing emails, we’ve too often received comments like ‘should I also change my bank account password then?’ At which point we find out that said user has a single password across their banking, social and work accounts.”

To address this risk, Williams Racing recently partnered with cybersecurity firm Keeper Security, which will provide password security to the entire team.

“The problems and risks are no different than anyone else’s. Cybercriminals do not discriminate, and they attack every organization across every industry and of every size, a race team is no exception to that,” Darren Guccione, CEO and Co-founder, Keeper Security told Infosecurity.

“A race team is a company, it’s an organization with humans and machines and they have computers, endpoints and individuals that transact every day with passwords and credentials. At the end of the day cybersecurity should be at the core with technology innovation. Our platform is designed to ubiquitous protect passwords, credentials and secrets,” he added.

Password management, strong password practices and enforcing multi-factor authentication (MFA) continue to be critical for maintaining security.

On the partnership with Keeper Security, Bower said the cybersecurity firm embodies the ethos of the Wiliams team: excellence, pioneering innovation and relentless determination to succeed.

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