Is The World Cup a Hacker’s Paradise?

Cyber Criminals

As the digital world continues to turn, the risk of cyberattack is always on the horizon. And the arrival of the 2018 FIFA World Cup has served up more than just friendly competition—it’s created an excellent platform for hackers looking to target unsuspecting fans. As game-goers engage in all sorts of mobile transactions, from online betting to social media comments to retail purchases, their attack surfaces increase considerably.

Cybercriminals have anticipated this growth and are constantly looking for new ways to exploit any transaction that happens in a non-secure environment. In fact, 95% of mobile users are basically oblivious to the threats a smartphone can pose—until it’s too late.

The Truth of Protection

Service providers do offer protection to their subscribers by keeping the system network secure. This helps users enjoy complete protection around the clock, regardless of what they do or which application they use. However, this effort is not always enough, especially during phases like the World Cup when activity is higher than normal. In spite of all this professed security, cybercriminals are still raking in major cash around mobile attacks and generating around $2 trillion in global revenue for themselves. And their most lucrative prey comes in the form of ignorant users—or in this case, excited and clueless fans glued to their phones during the World Cup.

Aside from offering basic protection, service providers need to act preventatively, much like Heartline is given to pets to ward off harmful parasites.  Subscribers need to be educated in how they, themselves, can detect and mitigate their own risk on a basic level, without always blinding depending on a provider to do it for them.

The preemptive strike strategy demonstrated by the service provider has been successful and powerful. The data collected from four service providers across Europe and other places show that nearly seven million users are well protected. Further, nearly two billion mobile securities have been blocked and flagged in the last four months, which means someone is paying attention. Further investigation reveals that half of the identified threat was triggered by adware, a trend that shows just how active the cybercriminals are when it comes to attacking both businesses and individuals. So, while fans are busy sharing information about the World Cup, service providers need to be extra vigilant about their security.

Kill The Threat

In the interconnected world, fans are either leading a web-based life or living on apps during and after the games. This includes live streaming, betting, and other associated activities. Some applications come with hidden malware, phishing, or ransomware protocol that regularly targets clueless subscribers. This criminal action can be much more articulated amid a global event like the FIFA World Cup.

Who Is At Risk?

The Casual Fan isn’t extremely active on a sports app or sites and is less likely to click on suspicious links or engage in risky mobile behavior.

The Information seeker uses multiple apps and websites to gather information about sports, but they don’t share information through social media. This type of fan is more sport-oriented and less socially focused, which means makes them a harder target for cybercriminals.

The Social Monitor invests considerable time on social media and websites, putting them at heightened risk of malicious attacks through malware.

The Movers and Shakers face even more risk because they engage in social media mingling along with aggressive sports interaction. They are exceptionally dynamic on both social media applications and websites/URLs, putting them at hazard because of a congested system.

The Social Mingler is dynamic with friends and other users; however, they are less drawn to sports-related apps and URLs. These fans are still at a high risk since the greater part of their movement is spent on general online life applications, which can give phishers all the data they need to strike.

Most fans don’t understand the amount of time they spend on their mobile device during and after soccer matches. The rigorous scrolling, streaming, and searching puts them in a vulnerable situation exposing them to adware, phishing scams, and cryptocrimininals.

It’s not just malware that fans need to be cautious of, however. Some people are also being tricked into purchasing fake tickets. Kaspersky Lab explains that those searching for tickets on sale for this year’s FIFA World Cup or other events should be wary of how they make their purchase. According to AARP, nearly five million people a year receive fake tickets to concerts, sporting events, and theme parks. Digital solution providers like Comodo Cybersecurity always warn users to keep their eyes wide open when completing an online transaction, and that includes booking tickets for mega-events like a FIFA World Cup. Always look at the URLs and confirm their authenticity. As reported in Citizen Advice, UK, “There are some websites that claim to supply online ticket for major events, but many of them will take your money and that’s it. They are just scams.”

Stay Alert

To keep subscribers protected from such attacks, service providers must understand the behavior of their users and how they render themselves vulnerable to cyber attack. Once they have the statistics, it becomes easier for the service provider to take the necessary steps to educate these fans. There can be a value-added security service from the service provider, which can include the ad blocker, anti-malware, anti-phishing services. While doing so, they can also enhance their customer’s security and keep them protected. World Cup fans should know the difference between a genuine and fake website and take a holistic approach to their own digital safety.

Julia Sowells960 Posts

Julia Sowells has been a technology and security professional. For a decade of experience in technology, she has worked on dozens of large-scale enterprise security projects, and even writing technical articles and has worked as a technical editor for Rural Press Magazine. She now lives and works in New York, where she maintains her own consulting firm with her role as security consultant while continuing to write for Hacker Combat in her limited spare time.

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