11/30/2022
FIFA World Cup Qatar, Qatar World Cup, FIFA World Cup 2022, Michel Platini, Indian hacking group, Cybersecurity, Cybercrime, Indian hackers Qatar WC

FIFA World Cup Qatar: FIFA World Cup 2022: Qatar government is once again under fire. This time, as per a Sunday Times investigation, they have hired an Indian hacking group to silence descent and critics of the World Cup. While the government has furiously denied the reports, the undercover investigation has revealed how top FIFA and UEFA officials including former UEFA chief Michel Platini were targeted. Follow Qatar World Cup 2022 LIVE Updates on InsideSport.IN. 

UK’s Sunday Times and the Bureau of Investigative Journalism received a leaked database. It revealed the hacking of a dozen lawyers, journalists, and famous people from 2019 “commissioned by one particular client”.

“This investigation points strongly to this client being the host of (the) World Cup: Qatar,” Sunday Times reported.

However, soon Qatar Govt hit back, terming the report as “patently false and without merit”.

FIFA World Cup Qatar: Hack for HIRE, Qatar reportedly hires Indian hacking group to target critics of World Cup including Michel Platini, Check Details

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Platini, who was hacked ahead of talks with French police about World Cup-related graft claims, told AFP he was “surprised and deeply shocked” by the report.

He said he would be exploring all possible legal avenues over what appeared to be a serious “violation” of his privacy.

London-based consultant Ghanem Nuseibeh whose company Cornerstone produced a report on corruption relating to the World Cup was also targeted, the Sunday Times said in its report based on the joint investigation.

Others included Nathalie Goulet, a French senator and vocal critic of Qatar for allegedly financing “Islamic terrorism” and Mark Somos, a Germany-based lawyer, who had made a complaint about the Qatari royal family to the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The controversy comes two weeks before the World Cup is due to kick off in the conservative Gulf state on November 20.

The newspaper alleged that the hacking was masterminded by a 31-year-old accountancy firm employee, who denies the claims.

Based in Gurugram, his network of computer hackers allegedly ensnared their targets using “phishing” techniques to gain access to their email inboxes, sometimes also deploying malicious software to take control of their computer cameras and microphones.

FIFA World Cup Qatar: Hack for HIRE, Qatar reportedly hires Indian hacking group to target critics of World Cup including Michel Platini, Check Details

Hacking attacks were not limited, however, to those with an interest in the Qatar World Cup. In total more than 100 victims had their private email accounts targeted by the gang. The report claimed that the group targeted them “on behalf of investigators working for autocratic states, British lawyers, and their wealthy clients”.

This allegation comes amid growing concerns for cybersecurity. While China, North Korea and Russian hacking groups have been the prime suspects, this first time that an Indian hacking group has been accused of targeting powerful people.

A Qatari official rejected the allegations, describing the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s (TBIJ) report as “littered with glaring inconsistencies and falsehoods that undermine the credibility of their organisation”.

“The report relies on a single source who claims his ultimate client was Qatar, despite there being no evidence to prove it. Numerous companies have also boasted of non-existent ties to Qatar in an attempt to boost their profile in the run up to the World Cup,” the official told AFP in a statement.

“TBIJ’s decision to publish the report without a single piece of credible evidence to connect their allegations to Qatar raises serious concerns about their motives, which appear to be driven by political, rather than public interest, reasons,” the official added.

FIFA World Cup Qatar: Hack for HIRE, Qatar reportedly hires Indian hacking group to target critics of World Cup including Michel Platini, Check Details

– With inputs from AFP

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  • Cybersecurity
  • FIFA World Cup
  • FIFA World Cup 2022
  • FIFA World Cup Qatar
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  • Michel Platini
  • Qatar World Cup