Researchers from Akamai's CSIRT team warn of potential Internet disruptions during the upcoming World Cup event. FIFA's World Cup will be held in Brazil starting June 12.
At the 2010 World Cup hosted in South Africa, some 3,170,856 spectators attended 64 matches. FIFA is again distributing a total of over 3,000,000 tickets for the tournament, where Brazilian and international visitors will attend football (soccer) matches in 12 cities across Brazil. Akamai anticipates increased Internet traffic to and from Brazil throughout the tournament.
CSIRT said the following in an advisory released last week:
Akamai anticipates a surge of interest from overseas spectators researching the 12 venues which will result in an increase to Brazilian travel and tourism sites in general. This traffic will originate from all audiences worldwide which will number in the hundreds of millions. Websites hosted within Brazil may appear slow or unreachable if capacity is reached on international links.
Domestic Internet traffic within Brazil to travel and tourism sites will also increase as both international and domestic ticket holders will consult hotel, dining, and transportation sites as they move from city to city following their teams.
The potential for flash crowds is not restricted to travel or sports related industries during this event. News & media organizations should protect themselves from potential flash crowds in case there is breaking news. Promotions by advertisers (on-line or broadcast media) may also create flash crowds to a specific website sponsoring a contest or selling World Cup memorabilia.
Hacktivists may use the World Cup's high profile to promote a particular opinion or to simply generate media. An attack may be as benign as attempting to skew an online poll, but may be as serious as a DDoS attack.
Hacktivists may also target any company with a significant business presence in Brazil. For example, US-based agriculture firms have been targets of online threats centered around GMO crops. Because the Amazon is often equated with Brazil, protests against petrochemical companies operating in Peruvian forests may emerge as well.
Kona SiteDefender customers will also benefit from DDoS protection from hacktivists and flash mobs. In addition, Akamai's website acceleration technologies can lessen the impact of poor international connectivity.