With an estimated viewing audience of over 3.2 billion globally, the 2014 World Cup draws a large amount of viewers to television screens around the world and it brings a fair amount of advertisers as well.
Ad Age reports that companies such as AmBev, Coca-Cola, Banco Itau, Johnson & Johnson, Hyundai, Nestle, wireless business Oi and local retailer Magazine Luiza will shell out a total of $600 million to the Brazilian television network Globo to run their ads during this year’s World Cup. However, it may cost some sponsors more than they’ve bargained for, as DDoS cyber-attacks were launched against World Cup sponsors.
What is #OpWorldCup?
Dubbed #OpWorldCup and #OpHackingCup, Anonymous has launched a number of DDoS attacks against those who sponsored the month long soccer match, the official World Cup website, and the government websites of Brazil — all in the name of retaliation for the alleged exorbitant preparation costs for the World Cup. It’s believed that an estimated $11 billion has been spent, which caused the geopolitical climate in Brazil to rise and this garnered the attention of Anonymous.
Sponsors and advertisers have become caught in the cross-fire. Collateral damage, if you will. It has been reported that sponsors such as Adidas, Budweiser, Coca-Cola, McDonalds, Sony and Visa are all on Anonymous’ list of targets in this latest cyber-attack. These corporations have spent millions of dollars just to advertise, and now have to add in the costs of their websites being down or defaced.
The Anonymous threat to strike down the World Cup sponsors’ websites first surfaced in February of 2014. Although there was ample time to prepare for possible DDoS attacks, can you blame an advertiser or sponsor if they overlooked this potential threat? Not all companies are typical targets of hacktivists until they’ve aligned themselves with those who are. Websites of companies such as Hyundai, Johnson Controls and Emirates have been targeted for their association to the World Cup and even many Brazilian government websites have been defaced or have been down for several days at the time of this writing.
Depending on the severity of these DDoS attacks and website defacement during the World Cup, security teams in the consumer product space may have to start assessing the risk of marketing programs in the future to get the true cost of doing business. This may very well dissuade corporations to put their advertising dollars into major sports programs that may have a geopolitical situation attached to it.
And those costs aren’t cheap – In a 2013 Radware ERT Report, total cost of unplanned datacenter outages caused by DoS/DDoS attack was estimated to be $822,000 in 2013. The report also finds that some organizations have not budgeted for a dedicated DoS/DDoS mitigation solution in 2014 with some businesses relying on adjacent technologies such as firewall, or intrusion prevention systems. However, such technologies have little success in attempting to mitigate sophisticated DoS/DDoS attacks.
Strategies to Help Protect against a DDoS Cyber-Attack
Companies and government sites that do find themselves in the DDoS crosshairs can deploy these three mitigation strategies and tactics that will help protect them against DDoS attacks:
Employ the Shortest Time to Mitigate: When deploying DoS/DDoS mitigation solutions, organizations need to ensure that their detection and mitigation solutions can detect attacks and start the mitigation process within the shortest time possible. Solutions that require traffic diversion for attack mitigation may suffer from a longer time to mitigate. In addition, when the DoS/DDoS mitigation solution is built from disparate separated solutions, the switch between the different mitigation solutions may delay the time the mitigation process starts. Organizations need to look at time-to-mitigation as a key success factor, and ensure that the solution they deploy provides the shortest time-to-mitigate.
Wide Mitigation Coverage: Organizations should look for a DoS/DDoS mitigation solution that offers wide attack coverage. Such solution should mitigate volumetric network attacks, SSL attacks, as well as application level attack vectors.
Single Point of Contact in Case of an Attack: With this wide range of detection and mitigation options on one hand, and the pressure to start the mitigation actions as soon as possible on the other hand, it is crucial that your organization will have a single point of contact in case of an attack. Be it an internal security team employed with DoS/DDoS experts that are ready to get to action in minutes or an external emergency response team that can be called to action with minutes, these teams should help the organization choose the correct mitigation options and help divert the Internet traffic between the different mitigation solutions.
To keep updated on sites that have been affected by this latest DDoS attack from Anonymous, please visit DDoSWarriors.com and click the link “track #OpWorldCup.”