Hacker group threatens cyber-attack on World Cup sponsors

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Hacker group threatens cyber-attack on World Cup sponsors
In this May 13, 2014, photo,This aerial view shot through an airplane window shows the Maracana stadium behind the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. As opening day for the World Cup approaches, people continue to stage protests, some about the billions of dollars spent on the World Cup at a time of social hardship, but soccer is still a unifying force. The international soccer tournament will be the first in the South American nation since 1950. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
Maracana stadium seen before the last Brazilian league soccer match in the stadium between Fluminense and Sao Paulo, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Brazil will host the World Cup soccer tournament starting on 12 June and Maracana stadium will host the World Cup Final match on 13 July. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
FILE - This March 26, 2014, file photo, released, by Portal da Copa, shows an aerial view of the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. (AP Photo/Portal da Copa, Daniel Basil, File) - SEE FURTHER WORLD CUP CONTENT AT APIMAGES.COM
In this May 11, 2014 photo, a couple takes a selfie during the Brazilian league soccer match between Fluminense and Flamengo, at Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Experts say Cup visitors will discover that Brazil’s mobile communications services are severely lacking, mostly because the government and telephone companies are ill-prepared for the month-long tournament. Some even worry about possible mobile network blackouts. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne visits the Maracana stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Monday, April 7, 2014. The city of Rio de Janeiro will host the Olympics in 2016. (AP Photo/Silvia Izquierdo)
A house painted with the colors of Germany is seen at the Complexo do Alemao slum, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Thursday, May 22, 2014. The upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup starts on 12 June. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)
A man, far right, looks out from a barco regional (regional boat) as it docks in the port of Manacapuru, after departing from Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, May 22, 2014. The riverboats are usually two or three decks and travel between towns and villages. Manaus is one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
A man sits next to a dog in the port of Manacapuru, near Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, May 22, 2014. Manaus is one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Youth who are part of the Magic Football Club train on the beach of Cite Soleil in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Thursday, May 22, 2014. This year's World Cup soccer tournament will be be hosted by Brazil starting in June. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
A man sits in a barco regional (regional boat) in the port of Manacapuru, after departing from Manaus, Brazil, Thursday, May 22, 2014. The riverboats are usually two or three decks and travel between towns and villages. Manaus is one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Police helicopter hovers in front of the National Stadium during a practice for security operations for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, in Brasilia, Brazil, Thursday, May 22, 2014. The football stadium is a multi-purpose arena that will host games during the 2014 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament that starts in June. (AP Photo/Eraldo Peres)
A woman walks on a street decorated for the upcoming World Cup in Manaus, Brazil, Wednesday, May 21, 2014. Manaus is one of the host cities for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
In this photo released by sportsbet.com.au, a hot air balloon in the likeness of Brazil’s Christ The Redeemer statute, wearing the colors of Australia's soccer team, floats over the Melbourne skyline Tuesday, June 10, 2014. Australia will begin their 2014 soccer World Cup campaign with a match against Chile, Saturday, in Cuiaba. (AP Photo/sportsbet.com.au, Dave Callow) EDITORIAL USE ONLY
In this Thursday, June 5, 2014 photo, people play soccer at the Tavares Bastos slum in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Whether professional-grade or improvised, in high-rent neighborhoods or tucked into “favela” hillside slums, soccer fields are literally everywhere throughout this chaotic metropolis of 12 million. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana)
Honduras’ national soccer team members arrive at the Sao Paulo International airport in Brazil, Monday, June 9, 2014. Honduras will play in group E of Brazil's 2014 soccer World Cup. (AP Photo/Paulo Duarte)
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By Esteban Israel and Anthony Boadle

(Reuters) - The hacker group Anonymous is preparing a cyber-attack on corporate sponsors of the World Cup in Brazil to protest the lavish spending on the soccer games in a country struggling to provide basic services, said a hacker with knowledge of the plan on Friday.

Earlier this week, Anonymous attacked the Brazil's Foreign Ministry computer networks and leaked dozens of confidential emails.

"We have already conducted late-night tests to see which of the sites are more vulnerable," said the hacker who operates under the alias of Che Commodore. "We have a plan of attack."

"This time we are targeting the sponsors of the World Cup," he said in a Skype conversation from an undisclosed location in Brazil. Asked to name the potential targets he mentioned Adidas, Emirates airline [EMIRA.UL], the Coca-Cola Co and Budweiser, which is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev.

Reuters had no means of confirming Che Commodore's identity or his affiliation with Anonymous.

The sponsors did not immediately respond to requests to comment on the threat.

A DDoS or Distributed Denial-of-service is a low-cost attack aiming at taking a website offline by simultaneously requesting access from thousands of computers in order to jam the host server.

The threat of cyber-attacks is yet another headache for the organizers of the World Cup kicking off on June 12 in Brazil. The 32-nation soccer tournament has already been marred by embarrassing delays in the building of stadiums and widespread discontent in Brazil over the excessive cost of hosting the event in a country with deficient public services.

In what could be the biggest cyber-security breach since the U.S. National Security Agency allegedly spied on President Dilma Rousseff's personal communications, Anonymous this week posted 333 documents extracted from the Foreign Ministry's computing network.

They include a briefing of talks between Brazilian officials and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during a visit to Brazil in May last year and a list of sport ministers that plan to attend the World Cup.

A hacker known as AnonManifest used a phishing attack to break into the Foreign Ministry's databases and eventually access its documentation system, Che Commodore told Reuters.

"Until yesterday afternoon the hacker still had access to the system," he said.

The Foreign Ministry closed down its email system after the attack and instructed its 3,000 email account holders to change their passwords. Federal police is investigating the breach.

A Foreign Ministry official told Reuters on Friday that only 55 email accounts were hacked and the only documents that were obtained where attached to emails and from the ministry's internal document archive.

"The problem has been resolved. Nothing important was leaked," said the official, who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to discuss the matter.

But Brazilian diplomats abroad were left without email communications with their headquarters for several days. One diplomat in a European capital told Reuters on Friday the email service was still down.

(Reporting by Esteban Israel and Anthony Boadle; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

Hacker group threatens cyber-attack on World Cup sponsors
RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL - MAY 15: A masked demonstrator burns World Cup memorabilia at a protest against the upcoming 2014 World Cup on May 15, 2014 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Anti-World Cup demonstrations were held across the country today. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)
A security guard keeps watch at the subway as demonstrators taking part in the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 protest in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO /Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MAY 15, 2014: Black Bloc protesters Group clash with policemen during a protest against the World Cup on the evening of Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Protests are taking place in various cities of the country and questioned the high spending on construction of stadiums and fight for better conditions and budget for health and education. (Photo by Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)
Policemen arrest demonstrators during the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - MAY 15, 2014: Black Bloc protesters Group clash with policemen during a protest against the World Cup on the evening of Thursday, May 15, 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Protests are taking place in various cities of the country and questioned the high spending on construction of stadiums and fight for better conditions and budget for health and education. (Photo by Victor Moriyama/Getty Images)
Riot police take position during a protest against money spent on the World Cup preparations in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Protesters and police clashed Thursday, as demonstrations against the World Cup and rallies calling for improved public services erupted in several Brazilian cities.(AP Photo/Andre Penner)
A member of the Homeless Workers Movement carries a Brazilian flag past burning tires during a protest against the money spent on the World Cup near Itaquerao stadium which will host the international soccer tournament's first match in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Brazilians are angry at the billions spent to host the World Cup, much of it on 12 ornate football stadiums, one-third of which critics say will see little use after the big event. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Members of the Homeless Workers Movement protest against money spent on the World Cup near Itaquerao stadium which will host the international soccer tournament's first match in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Thursday, May 15, 2014. Brazilians are angry at the billions spent to host the World Cup, much of it on 12 ornate football stadiums, one-third of which critics say will see little use after the big event. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
FILE - In this June 17, 2013, file photo, a demonstrator holds a Brazilian flag in front of a burning barricade during a protest in Rio de Janeiro. Brazil. In a poll last year, more than three-fourths of Brazilians said they’re certain corruption has infused the World Cup. Their anger fueled widespread and often violent anti-government protests last June that sent more than 1 million Brazilians into the street during FIFA’s Confederations Cup soccer tournament. (AP Photo/Felipe Dana, File)
A protester damages a car after breaking a shop's window during the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Miguel SCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
Policemen search for demonstrators during the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 in Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 along the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
A line of riot police block the passage to demonstrators taking part in the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 along the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / NELSON ALMEIDA (Photo credit should read NELSON ALMEIDA/AFP/Getty Images)
A man dressed as Batman protests against the upcoming WC2014 FIFA tournament in Rio de Janeiro on May 15, 2014. Brazil faced a test of its security preparations for the World Cup on Thursday as demonstrators disgusted at the tournament's price tag called widespread protests. Ongoing strikes by police and teachers and the threat of a nationwide strike by federal police also raised fears of chaos with four weeks to go until football's biggest global spectacle. AFP PHOTO/CHRISTOPHE SIMON (Photo credit should read CHRISTOPHE SIMON/AFP/Getty Images)
People take part in the 'International Day of World Cup Resistance' protest against the upcoming FIFA World Cup Brazil 2014 along the streets of Sao Paulo, Brazil on May 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MIGUEL SHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
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