In an effort to back the anti-government protests that started last year in opposition to the choice of Brazil to host the World Cup, the hacker group Anonymous has been engaging in an online battle with official websites in solidarity with the protesters.
Before the cyberattacks started, the group released a video announcing their intentions with the attacks, and the reasons why they say it is necessary.
“We are pursuing the government of Brazil because of their corruption and actions against the people,” the video says. “You have created a system which ensures the poor remain poor, and the wealthy remain wealthy. It is very clear to us that you have no intention of running the country for the people, but you will continue to run it for your own personal interest.”
According to several websites that have been tracking the attacks on official websites, several main sites have been momentarily shut down, or have had their internal security breached. The uncentralized group has also leaked the login credentials of about 450 government emails, among other things.
Users might see this kind of image upon trying to access an official site in the country:
“Some attacks are relatively superficial and almost no effect, but most of them had full access to government servers, and all its contents,” an Anonymous member explained to Forbes in a recent interview.
Cyberattacks against FIFA, the international governing body of soccer and organizer of the World Cup, along with the event’s official sponsors have also been threatened.
Anti-World Cup protests began last year in Sao Paolo when a political group called Movimiento Passe Livre (Free Fare Movement) sought to reverse a hike in public transportation prices, which then spread to other cities. The growing movement quickly gave leftist groups and student organizations a reason to shine light on other larger issues like corruption, social inequality, and the high cost of healthcare.
All the while, the World Cup cost Brazil an estimated $11 billion, money protesters say should have gone to addressing the issues outlined above.
Let’s be clear: that is a hell of a lot of money. But to take the grievances in their proper context we must acknowledge that between 2001 and 2009, an estimated 31 million Brazilians, or 15 percent of the population joined the middle class. Over the last few years, however, Brazil’s impressive growth and promise of a very bright economic future under President Dilma Rouseff economic future have slowed down significantly.
But perhaps even more important than the fiscal issues surrounding the Cup is the, at times, violent police clampdowns that have sought to silence the protesters before and during the World Cup festivities.
To that end, Anonymous’ message is clear: either allow the citizens to protest, or we will continue to wreak havoc on the government’s digital properties.
Additional research for this story provided by Jonathan Muñoz