Hacking is getting rampant in Brazil.
From today's WSJ, FYI,
FEBRUARY 2, 2012, 1:29 P.M. ET
Brazil-Focused Hackers Hit HSBC's Global Banking Sites
By MATTHEW COWLEY
SÃO PAULO—Hackers on Thursday kept up their campaign to cripple Brazilian banking websites and, in a new twist, their efforts appeared to affect both local and global websites of U.K.'s HSBC Holdings PLC.
This is the fourth attack in as many days by the Anonymous Brasil group, which says the effort is part of a campaign aimed at social activism in Brazil, and not theft. Earlier this week, the attacks hampered operations on the websites of Banco do Brasil SA, Itaú Unibanco Holding SA and Banco Bradesco SA.
"Bonus: HSBC National and International are dancing to the same tango—Tango Down," the hackers said via their Twitter account, AnonBRNews. "Tango Down" is a military term used when a target has been eliminated. "One of the largest banks in the world is adrift," the group said.
Access to HSBC's Brazilian website was intermittent throughout Thursday. Other global websites of the bank stopped working in the morning, but most seemed to be working normally by the afternoon.
HSBC's media department in Brazil said that the local website was receiving "a volume of requests above what's expected" and that it was working to return service to normal. It said customers could use other channels, such as automated-teller machines and the telephone helpline.
A spokesman at HSBC in London said the bank had experienced "technical difficulties" with the corporate website. He said it was too early to confirm whether HSBC had been hacked in Brazil.
Security experts said that these denial-of-service attacks are unsophisticated and hard to stop, as they seek to overwhelm a website by bombarding it with thousands or millions of requests for access at any moment.
Two groups behind Anonymous Brasil, Anti-Security Brazilian Team and iPiratesGroup, have claimed they are activists that want more equality in Brazil.
The groups had vowed to target Brazil's five largest banks this week and have already drawn up an action list for the rest of the year, which will include airlines, telephone companies and credit-card companies, as well as government websites. The groups said they also plan to hijack transmissions by radio stations.
Although the operation is called Anonymous Brasil, there was some confusion as to whether it is related to the global loose-knit hacker-activist group Anonymous. Another group, Plano Anonymous Brasil, which claims to represent the global Anonymous movement, sought to distance itself, saying AntisecBrTeam, iPiratesGroup and a third group, Lulzsecbrazil, where trying to undermine its activities.
The veracity of the sites and hacker groups' claims couldn't be learned.
—Marietta Cauchi in London contributed to this article