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FIFA World Cup sponsors may already by victims of ‘malware trap’

Threats from Anonymous prompts concerns of early breach.

By Jimmy Nicholls

Sponsors of the FIFA World Cup may already be victims of a "malware trap" set by hacking collective Anonymous.

According to McAfee’s Ashish Patel, regional director of network security for the UK and Ireland complacency from Coca-Cola, Sony, McDonalds, VISA and Adidas is risky as they were all mentioned on a potential target list issued by the hacking group, who have a record of honouring their threats.

"The most concerning factor is how far Anonymous may have already penetrated into the networks of the World Cup sponsors," Patel said.

As demonstrated by the recent attack on eBay, hackers able to breach a system undetected may compromise a system and leave unnoticed, with weeks or even months passing before anybody realises what has happened.

"If such techniques have been used by Anonymous, the World Cup sponsors may already be compromised," Patel added. "The malware trap may be already set and now lying dormant on the sponsors’ networks, ready to strike."

Last week Reuters spoke to a hacker operating under the alias Che Commodore, who announced the hacking group would attack FIFA sponsors as part of the #OpWorldCup protest against the expense of the tournament in a country as impoverished as Brazil.

"We have already conducted late-night tests to see which of the sites are more vulnerable. We have a plan of attack," he said.

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Earlier in the week Anonymous had leaked 333 documents from the Brazilian foreign ministry after a phishing attack allowed them access to the databases of the government department. Though an official confirmed that nothing important had been lost, the email system was brought down for several days.

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