Home > InfoSec, Wireless > Wireless Security and Goal Line Technology

Wireless Security and Goal Line Technology

So i was watching a Football (Soccer) match last night (Arsenal – Swansea) and a goal was scored that no one actually saw (well, except the striker who believed it was a goal, or rather wanted others to believe it was a goal – i’m not sure whether he even saw it). Anyhow, the ball crossed the goal-line by about 15cm, so fast, but at the same time the goalkeeper reacted also swiftly enough and pawed it out of the goal. Quite possibly, no one actually saw it. No one really reacted. Even the commentators had no idea whether it was a goal or not.

The turn around moment was the the Referee whistled for a restart at center. His watch linked to the Goal-Line Technology (i think at some point they called it Hawk-Eye) caught the actual moment of the entire ball crossing over the line. Arsenal 0 – Swansea (Technology) 1.

Now, for me it was the first time that i had seen literally no one react to a purported goal claim. Even the Referee shrugged his shoulders and pointed to the watch seemingly saying: “I don’t know, i didn’t see it … but the watch vibrated, so it means the ball crossed the line. The goal is awarded.”

The amount of trust put in that system is incredible. Ok, to the credit of the system developers/implementers/testers – it should also be said that there has been talk of the system having been tested and scrutinized thoroughly. I don’t know how much it has been tested, but i’d like to think about it this way: It probably still does have vulnerabilities, just that there has not been enough incentive for someone to exploit the system.

Let’s ask some quick hypothetical questions (even if I have actually no knowledge of how the system actually works):

  • Is there mutual authentication between the system detecting the ball crossing the line and the referee’s watch?
  • Can someone perform a denial of service (jamming the radio signals) on the watch or the system, such that even if the ball crosses the line, the referee doesn’t get any feedback?
  • Could i randomly send signals on a certain frequency to the referee’s watch during the match such that they are so random that he thinks that the system is malfunctioning?
  • Can the camera-replay system (that they use for confirmation) be adjusted in real-time to move the round figure of the ball slightly further over the line, or slightly less depending on the desired outcome (goal given, or goal disallowed)?

There are probably other questions that can be asked. These are just a quick few.

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