Hackers target the World Cup

Hackers are planning to attack the FIFA World Cup, according to a report by Infosecurity Magazine

The article cited two hackers. One called Che Commodore spoke with Reuters and explained that the infamous hacker group Anonymous has already begun to look for weaknesses in World Cup-related websites it can exploit.

Commodore said the group plans to execute Denial of Service attacks on high-profile sponsors of the event. Denial of Service attacks flood Web servers with so much bandwidth usage they shut down.

“We have already conducted late-night tests to see which of the sites are more vulnerable,” he said. “We have a plan of attack.”

The second hacker is known as AnonManifest, who breached the Brazilian Foreign Ministry’s network and stole 300 confidential documents.

The price of prestige

Hacker groups like Anonymous like to use high-profile events like the World Cup because of the added publicity it gives them, said David Howorth, vice president at Alert Logic, an IT network security firm.

Howorth added those vulnerable to an attack during the World Cup should plan a strategy for preventing Denial of Service attacks, as well as taking the usual precautions to ensure all computer applications are patched and that all firewalls are configured as they should be.

Learning From Sochi

The threats to the World Cup are no different from the threats that were faced by sponsors of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

One group affiliated with Anonymous, called Anonymous Caucasus, threatened to hack sites in the same way that Anonymous is threatening to hack sites affiliated with the FIFA World Cup. The group threatened to use the Olympics as a way of stealing information through spreading malware and using phishing scams. They also executed Denial of Service attacks against several websites, which shut down the website belonging to Russia's national games committee.

How big a problem? By the numbers...

The sheer number of hacking attempts that various groups can make during something like an Olympic event can be enormous. China was subject to about 12 million cyberattacks a day during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing, according to Public Intelligence.  When the Olympics ended in China, it wasn’t long before London, which hosted the 2012 games, became subject to hacking attempts as well. Even during the London Olympics, there were hackers planning to execute cyberattacks against the Olympic Games in Sochi.

If a company is going to be part of a major event, it needs to think about security well in advance.

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