Soccer/football fans (depending on which side of the pond you’re watching from) are starting congregate around their television sets as the world unites to watch the World Cup. All the while, hacker group Anonymous has fulfilled its promises to bring down the websites of dozens of different corporate sponsors, government services, and international partners.
Just a few days ago Anonymous threatened to shut down the front doors of dozens of different websites, most of which were tied to major corporations who were sponsoring the World Cup including Coca Cola, Emirate Airlines, and Adidas.
No one can say with certainty whether or not these attacks were tied to the same hackers who made those threats. However, with so many people in Brazil speaking out vocally against the government and its handling of the World Cup, it’s not hard to imagine more than a few people who saw their tax money blown on opulent stadiums would be upset, while also understanding the basics of how to launch a DDoS from one of the country’s thousands of available Internet cafes.
All tallied around 60 websites either directly advertising the cup or one of its partners were taken down for a number of hours, most of whom have already reverted to backups in response to the offensive to get themselves back up and running.
“We had a busy last few days and there is more still to come,” a hacker who calls himself Che Commodore and who claims to be a member of the Anonymous hacker collective told Reuters on Wednesday.
Companies and institutions that work with a government that denies the basic rights of its people in order to promote a private, exclusive and corrupt sports event will be targeted,” he said, declining to give his real name.”
These types of hacktivist-backed political protests have become increasingly popular over the past few years, with the Internet providing people with limited numbers and resources to be heard on a much larger stage than any megaphone on the street corner might be able to reach on its own.
The attack itself was unlikely too be too much of a challenge for the hackers, with Brazil’s networking infrastructure taking one of the top spots as one of the least secure government networks in the developing world.
Last month, a group of hackers were able to crack through the backdoor of Brazil’s Foreign Ministry, reading emails and correspondences sent to global state leaders including US Vice President Joe Biden and his wife. Since then, the nation has been plagued with outbursts of DDoS attacks, database intrusions, and public shaming as we got closer and closer to the kick-off.
No one knows if Anonymous left behind any botnets or malware nasties for server administrators to find after the tournament has wrapped up and gone, but if Brazil intends to get serious as a growing world power in the 21st century, maybe their money would be better spent shoring up some cyber defenses instead of erecting entire stadium complexes that won’t ever be used again after the next few weeks have past.