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Hackers Are Gearing Up for the World Cup in Russia, Analysts Say

Sergei Kiselyov / Moskva News Agency

Hacker attacks are becoming more frequent and complex ahead of the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the situation is only expected to worsen, the Kommersant newspaper reported, citing cyber crime analysts.

Hacker incidents have been on the upswing in recent months. In April, for example, there were twice as many distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks as there were in March, and these attacks are expected to become more frequent when the international tournament kicks off on June 14.

The most popular scams include spam emails about winning tickets in the FIFA lottery and fake websites about cheap flights and accommodations in Russia. Hackers also create duplicates of bank websites and popular tourist sites, such as Booking.com and Airbnb, and use them to gain access to the users' banking information.

Another common attack is for hackers to put harmful viruses on popular websites. Even Fan ID could be at risk for hacker attacks, analysts say.

Football fans need a Fan ID in addition to a ticket to enter stadiums for matches, but analysts warn that hackers could tamper with identification symbols on the documents and block a fan's access to stadiums and public transport.

Analysts noted that increased hacker activity was also seen at major sporting events in recent years — the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Sochi and PyeongChang — and steps have been taken by the Central Bank, FinCERT, and others to combat the attacks.

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