World Cup Spurs Cyber-Attacks, Digital Protests
Cyber-criminals use the quadrennial soccer contest as a phishing lure for unsuspecting victims, while Anonymous supports domestic protesters by defacing Web sites and by launching denial-of-service attacks.As the ultimate contest for the world's most popular sport, the Federation Internationale de Futbol Association (FIFA) World Cup attracts billions of viewers during the month the tournament runs. Little wonder, then, that the contest also attracts cyber-criminals and online protesters as well. Since early June, fraudsters have expanded their use of the World Cup as a lure in phishing emails and online scams, attempting to persuade users to click on malicious links, according to security firms. Citizen protests over the enormous spending—including more than $3.6 billion in taxpayer money—by the Brazilian government on stadiums and infrastructure required to host the games have attracted online denial-of-service attacks and Web site defacements. Hackers linked to the Anonymous philosophy have claimed responsibility for a number of attacks, including the leak of email from Brazil's Foreign Ministry in late May and a denial-of-service (DoS) attack on the Web site of the Military Police of São Paulo, according to security firm Radware, which is tracking the attacks.
"There are a lot of attacks going on, and they are across the spectrum," Carl Herberger, vice president of security solutions for Radware, told eWEEK. "From sporting sites to government sites and even advertisers, this has risen above the level of nuisance attacks."