On Friday night, a member of the international hacking group Anonymous announced that the group would begin ramping up its operations to attack corporate sponsors of the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup being held in Brazil later this month.
“We have already conducted late-night tests to see which of the sites are more vulnerable,” said the hacker who operates under the alias of Che Commodore. “We have a plan of attack.”
“This time we are targeting the sponsors of the World Cup,” he said in a Skype conversation from an undisclosed location in Brazil.
When queried for the names of potential targets, he mentioned big name brands such as Adidas, Emirates airline, Coca-Cola Co and Budweiser to start, following up by saying that this would only be the start of their campaign, which should last throughout the next month if all goes according to plan.
The announcement comes shortly after a coordinated phishing attack earlier this week that took down the servers of Brazil’s Foreign Ministry, wherein 333 highly-classified documents were leaked to the open net by the group as they prepared for the Cup and all the chaos that will inevitably come with it.
According to analysts close to the source, the hacker, known only as AnonManifest, maintained control of both the internal email system officials use to communicate with each other for upwards of six days, as well as a cache of documents that include correspondence between the World Cup coordination committee and US Vice President Joe Biden arranging the details of his arrival once the event finally kicks off (no pun intended).
Anonymous has spent the past year or so laying fairly low in light of a string of arrests by the FBI and CIA, both of whom have been sweeping online chat services like IRC for anyone who might be connected to them in a massive crackdown designed to implode their daily operations from within.
By turning lower ranked members against the top brass, the FBI has been able to create a massive gap in trust that hadn’t existed before 2013, effectively cutting off the problem at its source and stagnating operations where they stood until recently. Whether this newest declaration of digital war is a signal for what’s to come remains to be seen, though it’s certainly a decent indicator that Anonymous is preparing for something bigger than anything else they’ve unleashed thus far.
This declaration of dastardly proportions is just another in a long line of setbacks that have continued to plague the Brazilian 2014 World Cup, which has brought an unyielding torrent of backlash and bureaucratic badmouthing upon its host government for everything from misspent money, to unfinished construction projects, and their woefully underprepared transportation infrastructure which could crack in half under the weight of tourists that will start pouring into the country over the next two weeks.
None of the sponsors named returned to Reuters with a comment on what they plan to do to shore up their defenses in preparation for the pre-announced attack, however with a couple week’s notice it would be quite embarrassing if any of them were to lose control of their digital operations after being warned so far in advance.