Was UK's 2018 FIFA World Cup bid hacked by Russia? FBI investigates

Filed Under: Data loss, Featured, Law & order, Privacy

FootballThe FBI is reportedly investigating claims that the USA and English bids to host the 2018 soccer World Cup competition had their email accounts targeted by hackers.

According to media reports, FBI investigators have already questioned members of England's failed bid team as part of a wider investigation into allegations of corruption around the bidding process.

Of course, any team which had an insight on the secret plans and communications of a rival bidding team would have an unfair advantage.

The English officials are not suspected of any wrongdoing, but - according to media reports - the FBI asked specific questions related to the activities of the Russian team.

Russia, who ultimately won the opportunity to host the 2018 FIFA tournament, has denied that it has been involved in any dirty tricks connected with its successful campaign.

World CupIn a statement, the Russia 2018 organising committee said they were unaware of any investigation by the FBI and that they were proud of the way they had conducted themselves.

Although it's nice to think that sports like soccer are a gentlemanly game, the truth is that fierce competition can begin years before the sides face each other on the pitch.

Hosting the World Cup is not only potentially financially rewarding for the country who wins the bid process, but also regarded as a prestigious accomplishment for the-powers-that-be that bring the competition to their shores.

The depressing truth is that we would probably not be surprised if we heard that healthy competition and rivalry to host one of the world's biggest sporting events was soiled by dirty tricks and computer hacking.

Whether the allegations prove to be true or not, it's clear that those involved in such bids need to secure their computers and email accounts just as much as big businesses and government departments.

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7 Responses to Was UK's 2018 FIFA World Cup bid hacked by Russia? FBI investigates

  1. Guido Fawkes · 1360 days ago

    There is no need for better security. There is a need to conduct these event site selection processes with total transparency, without any regard for privacy and banning any private communications. Only this can guarantee the fairness of evaluation under the public's watchful eye.

    Anyhow, it's not sports, it'ss business. The vast majority of successful atletes are negro, but when will Black Africa host the Summer Olympics? Never, because only the rich and politically are allowed to apply. The noble ideals of Baron Coubertin have long been buried under the heaps of sponsorship money.

  2. David · 1360 days ago

    On what planet am I supposed to find it acceptable that my government, which collects taxes from me, spends that money to investigate whether or not Russians hacked the English so they could host a soccer match?

    Explain to me why I should find this acceptable.

    • Thu Win · 1360 days ago

      Perhaps so that the US can demand a do-over and hopefully get chosen.

    • Answer: first paragraph...

      "The FBI is reportedly investigating claims that the USA and English bids to host the 2018 soccer World Cup competition had their email accounts targeted by hackers."

      The US lost the bid to Russia, and is now investigating if there was foul play involved.

      However, I thought the FBI was supposed to have internal jurisdiction, unless working with law enforcement from other countries?

      The only reason I can see them involved is that a) this involved large sums of money, and b) this potentially involved the compromise of computing resources hosted in the US (and as such, the ways and means of the theorized attack are a matter of national security).

      • Chester Wisniewski · 1359 days ago

        If the email accounts that were attacked were in the USA and the attackers were outside of the USA it would fall under the jurisdiction of the FBI. This is why almost no cybercrime is actually prosecuted in the USA, the FBI doesn't have the resources and only pursues media cases...

    • Paul · 1359 days ago

      Because it is a good idea to know what the russians are doing and how they are doing it.

      Because they are doing it to us also.

  3. Robert Gracie · 1360 days ago

    I just dont understand why Russia would do such a thing to the UK's bid were they just so desperate to get the 2018 World cup they resorted to hacking to make sure they won it, that is unacceptable to do such a thing like that...

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About the author

Graham Cluley runs his own award-winning computer security blog at https://grahamcluley.com, and is a veteran of the anti-virus industry having worked for a number of security companies since the early 1990s. Now an independent security analyst, he regularly makes media appearances and gives computer security presentations. Follow him on Twitter at @gcluley