Hackers allegedly associated with the “Anonymous” group have threatened to disrupt the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, in protest against the $14 billion in government funds being spent on hosting the tournament.
They have made headlines in the past following attacks on US government websites, banks and Sony’s PlayStation Network, emerging as one of the world’s most feared groups of cyber criminals. They claim that they will be targeting official websites of the tournaments’ sponsors.
It is likely that distributed denial of service attacks, known as DDoS, will be used against the websites of the sponsors. DDoS involves flooding a website with an enormous amount of traffic, forcing it to crash.
Some hackers have already taken action, disrupting the online ticket sales for the tournament.
The upcoming World Cup has divided opinions amongst Brazilians. Many are excited at the prospect of once again hosting the world’s biggest celebration of their favourite sport. Many on the other hand, including one of the nation’s footballing heroes Romario, believe the money would be better spent in other areas.
There were widespread protests involving over a million residents last June, and it is expected that many will attempt to voice their opinions once again during the tournament.
The country itself are aware of the issue, and General Jose Carlos dos Santos of the Brazilian army’s cyber command claims that “Brazil is prepared to respond to the most likely cyber threats.”
Over 300 attempted attacks were prevented during last year’s Confederations Cup, and a “much higher” number will be stopped this summer.