2018 FIFA World Cup


Cybercriminals and hacktivist are getting ready to disrupt the digital experience during 2018 FIFA World Cup

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Abstract

Cybercriminals and hacktivist are getting ready to disrupt the digital experience during 2018 FIFA World Cup™*. Russian authorities, sponsors, service providers, and even stadium networks, are expected to be targeted throughout the months of June and July via a variety of methods for both personal gain and cyber-vandalism.

Background

As the 2018 FIFA World Cup approaches, Radware’s Emergency Response Team (ERT) team turns its attention to the crowds and target-rich environments created by high profile sporting events. This year, Russia will host the 21st FIFA World Cup. This marks the first time that the World Cup has been held in Europe since the 2006 World Cup in Germany. This is also the first time the World Cup has been hosted in a Eastern European country. A total of 64 matches will be played in twelve stadiums across eleven Russian cites, with the final match taking place on July 15th in Luzhniki Stadium, Moscow.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup brings large crowds to Russia, not only creating a huge demand for connectivity, but also a serious security risk for FIFA organizers, partners, sponsors, suppliers, and service providers that must be able to protect themselves and stadium networks against the threat of network- and application-attacks. The enormous demand creates a challenge of distinguishing between a flash crowd and a DDoS attack.

Threats

  • Data Theft

    Hackers, whether their motives are political, social, or financial, can take advantage of public networks (transportation hubs, cafes, and the stadium networks) at the FIFA World Cup to steal personal data such as usernames, passwords, credit card information or to use the event to spread malware or propaganda.

  • Nation-State Cyberattacks

    Recently, Russia was blamed for the cyberattacks that took place during the opening ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, South Korea. It was also reported by the Security Service of Ukraine that the recent Russian botnet, VPNFilter, was being staged to attack the UEFA Champions League match in Kiev, Ukraine before being dismantled. Radware does not have intelligence on a planned nation-state attack, but we suspect that the World Cup may attract adversaries of Russia to launch attacks.

  • Hacktivism

    The FIFA World Cup involves large monetary investments. Key brands are sponsoring the event, and by placing themselves front and center, become potential targets.

Case Study

One of Radware’s customers was a sponsor of the 2016 UEFA European Championship. Throughout the tournament, this organization suffered 175,000 web-based attacks against its network and 4 large DDoS attacks. All were mitigated without generating any false-positives and zero false-negatives.