UPDATED 22:31 EST / OCTOBER 31 2018


Data stolen in hack of soccer’s world governing body FIFA

The Fédération Internationale de Football Association, better known as FIFA, has been the victim of a phishing attack that resulted in data stolen.

The hack of soccer’s world governing body is reported to have occurred in March and involved theft of private correspondence, including emails that have since been passed on to German magazine Der Spiegel and the European Investigative Collaboration research network.

The New York Times reported Tuesday that the hack, the second to target the association, is not related to a previous hack in 2016 linked to Russia. That one led to the uncovering “some of soccer’s biggest secrets, shining light on dubious practices that have led to tougher regulations in soccer and in some cases, criminal prosecutions,” the report noted.

“In response to the increasing number of internet-enabled computer attacks, FIFA is continually modifying its systems and practices and allocates significant budgets for the continuous improvement of its information security posture,” the association said in a statement. “Following a hack in March 2018, FIFA took a number of measures to improve IT security, in order to protect employees.”

Kevin O’Brien, chief executive officer of cybersecurity firm GreatHorn Inc., told SiliconANGLE that targeted phishing is the single most effective type of cyberattack today.

“Organizations and their employees are more susceptible than they realize to an array of phishing attacks and impersonations because of their blind expectations of trust in corporate communications channels, and email in particular,” O’Brien said. “These kinds of attacks rely on sophisticated social engineering tactics that make it difficult for people to recognize whether an email is malicious or not, and cybercriminals are constantly evolving these techniques to bypass existing perimeter defenses and successfully convince people into divulging sensitive information.”

O’Brien said it’s important for organizations to implement policies and technologies that proactively learn what “good” email looks like and identify indicators such as email volume and anomalies in authentication or behavior that indicate a phishing attack.

Photo: Kremlin/Wikimedia Commons

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