Photo courtesy of FIFA.com
FIFA, the governing body of international soccer, disclosed yesterday (October 31st) its computer network was subject to another cyberattack. FIFA President Gianni Infantino and other members of the governing body are bracing for a release of private information obtained by the hackers.
The statement comes in the same month the U.S. Department of Justice and the FBI said Russia’s military intelligence body was responsible for a breach that occurred in 2016. The hack led to evidence from anti-doping investigations and lab results being published for public viewing.
While FIFA did not provide details about the data affected in the latest breach, FIFA President Infantino did release comments regarding the hack.
“… My job entails having discussions, having conversations, exchanging documents, drafts, ideas, whatever, on many, many, many, many topics. Otherwise, you don’t go anywhere,” Infantino commented. “I mean, if I just have to stay in my room and not speak to anyone and cannot do anything, how I can I do my job properly? So if then this is being portrayed as something bad, I think there’s not much I can do more than my job in an honest way, in a professional way and try to defend the interest of football.”
This is not the first time Infantino has been exposed to a cyberattack, however. Before being elected as FIFA’s President in 2016, Infantino was General Secretary at Union of European Football Associations, better known as UEFA. UEFA has been subject to phishing attempts to gain access to email accounts, but no evidence of an attack has ever been released.
At present, FIFA is not disclosing the type of data obtained in the breach. FIFA did comment that it “condemns any attempts to compromise the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of data in any organization using unlawful practices.”
In recent years, soccer has been hit by several breaches leading to the release of confidential information. A group by the name of “Football Leaks” has released details on the financial arrangements of top soccer players, which have led to tax evasion convictions such as that of Lionel Messi. The group also obtained a 2010 non-disclosure agreement that saw five-time Ballon d’Or (the award given to the best soccer player in the world) winner Cristiano Ronaldo accused of rape allegations.
Aside from falling victim to two cyberattacks in the last two years, FIFA is still adamant they keep cybersecurity under constant review.
“FIFA takes all necessary measures to adequately respond to security incidents as well as to continuously improve the security of its IT environment.”
Perhaps it’s time they abide by this motto and keep not only their organization safe but all the soccer players associated with their organization safe as well.