Africa’s 2022 World Cup broadcaster hit by cyber-attacks

A TV broadcaster in Africa has been hit by cyber attacks since it began streaming the World Cup from Qatar.

Officials at New World TV, a relatively new pan-African audio-visual group in Togo, confirmed it had also been attacked before the finals kicked off in Qatar on 20 November.

According to Gilles Bocco, the communication manager at New World TV, one of its servers supplying decoders was attacked.

Speaking to the BBC, Bocco said: “The technicians recorded seven attacks from different sources on Monday 21 November.

“There were viral attacks that reached one of the servers.”

New World TV gave no further details about the attacks’ perpetrators but Bocco said their identities will be known “very soon”.

Speaking to a local Togolese radio station, Bocco added: “This is not the time to talk about the perpetrators of these attacks, as our main focus now is how to meet this challenge by allowing African football fans to fully enjoy all the matches of this competition.

“People will get to know where these attacks came from very soon.”

Togolese authorities are working with New World TV combat the attacks. Commander Gwaliba Gbota, director general of Togo’s national cyber-security agency, explained: “We have learned that New World TV is under attack, so our Cyber Defence Africa operational unit has contacted the media group to see how best we can help them.”

Gbota also claimed the hacking attacks are signs of criminal acts, aimed at sabotaging efforts by New World TV to provide affordable services while potentially discouraging its subscribers across the continent.

He said: “We believe the prowess of the group in obtaining the rights to broadcast all the World Cup matches across sub-Saharan African countries does not please everyone.

“This is because there are other people who would have liked to get these broadcasting rights. I think these attacks come within the logic of perhaps sabotaging their systems in order to discourage subscribers, but we will do everything we can to help.”

He added that discussions are under way to see how his agency can help New World TV “strengthen their broadcasting systems and fight against these attacks”.

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