The world’s most watched sporting event, the World Cup, is now underway in Brazil. Despite an expected audience of billions over the next few weeks, not everyone is a fan. Protesters of every ilk are using the prominence of this event to make a point. That includes hacktivists from Anonymous and other cyber groups looking for attention.
Various websites associated with the World Cup have been the targets of DDoS attacks. This should come as no surprise since Anonymous – months ago – publicized their intentions to launch their cyberattacks, reportedly to protest the lavish spending on the soccer games in a country struggling to provide basic services.
There is a list of some 60 websites that have been successfully taken down via an attack. Some of them were also defaced or had information stolen. Among the affected websites are those of FIFA and its sponsors, various Brazilian government agencies, and public figures who are viewed as supporters of the Brazilian government. Reuters reports that potential targets of the attacks include sponsor companies Adidas, Emirates Airline, the Coca-Cola Co and Budweiser.
Anonymous vows to continue the attacks and is even posting status updates on Twitter. The Hackers News Bulletin is providing updates to the situation as well.
The owners of these websites under attack can point the finger of blame at the hacktivists, but they should also point the finger back at themselves. They were warned well in advance that an attack would be coming during the games. This gave them plenty of time to put an anti-DDoS solution in place. They could even have conducted a stress test of that solution before the real attacks hit.
What were they thinking to let their websites be completely exposed? Did they view it as a sign of weakness to try to rebuff Anonymous? Did they think it was all a big bluff? Are their budgets so tight that they can’t afford some basic security?
Certainly the sponsoring corporations must be prepared for all sorts of cyberattacks with defense in depth. One would hope, anyway.
Just like the tens of thousands of people protesting in the Brazilian streets, political hacktivists are hoping to draw attention to their causes on one of the world’s largest stages. But unlike the physical protests, the victims of the DDoS attacks don’t need police in riot gear and water cannons. A simple call to an anti-DDoS vendor should do the trick.
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