Ragtag hacktivist collective Anonymous is threatening World Cup sponsors as its next hacking target.
Hacker Che Commodore made the threat in solidarity with real-world protestors in Brazil who are enraged that funds are being funnelled into building white elephant stadiums for football's showpiece event rather than much needed improvement to local infrastructure and transport systems.
"We have already conducted late-night tests to see which of the sites are more vulnerable," Commodore told Reuters. "We have a plan of attack."
"This time we are targeting the sponsors of the World Cup," he added in a Skype conversation from an undisclosed location in Brazil with the news agency. The hacker named named potential targets as Adidas, the Emirates airline, the Coca-Cola Co and Budweiser.
We suspect Che Commodore and a self-identified member of the Anonymous Brazil are one in the same. They are certainly fellow travellers because @CheCommodore links to an (English language) #OpHackingCup video by Anonymous (below).
Jason Hart, VP Cloud Solutions at SafeNet, said that businesses, consumers and broadcasters will all be subjected to security threats of one type or another.
"This World Cup will be the most connected, technology-driven World Cup ever and therefore, will also be the subject of more hacks, security threats and data breaches than any sporting event since London 2012," Hart comments. "Brazil’s ability to host a sporting event has been questioned and the readiness of its physical infrastructure, the IT and network infrastructure will also be tested to extreme degrees."
Ashish Patel, regional director of network security at McAfee, suspects that cyber-saboteurs may already be at work. Anonymous hackers may have been using stealth hacking tactics for weeks, laying malware traps in the sponsors' networks that can be triggered when the hacktivists decide to act.
"Anonymous’ threat towards World Cup sponsors is serious, and needs to be treated as such," Patel said.
The FIFA World Cup 2014 itself kicks off on 12 June with a game between hosts Brazil and Croatia. ®