The upcoming Olympics in Rio de Janeiro pose as an immense opportunity for cyber criminals to deprive consumers of their financial data as enthusiastic fans seek sports scores and updates on their favorite athletes.
Hackers are prepped and eagerly awaiting the occasion for unsuspecting fans to click on links and purchase cheap tickets to events as they did during the 2012 London Olympics and the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
A spike in the number of phishing attacks and email scams meant to imitate promotions for the upcoming Olympics has already transpired to infect consumers with malware and obtain their personal and financial data, said Thomas Fischer, principal threat researcher at Digital Guardian, a Waltham, Mass.-based cybersecurity firm.
“These attacks are typically associated with the Olympics by using the same branding for scam emails or websites,” he said. “The Olympic organization can play a part in helping by reporting potential scam scenarios to the proper authorities and notifying the public.”
By May, fraud experts were already aware of reports of phishing attacks, email scams and spam messages, said Dan Lohrmann, chief security officer of Security Mentor, a Pacific Grove, Calif.-based security awareness training provider.
“We have seen threat actors registering domains with names containing words such as Rio and Rio2016,” he said. “Other scams use fake website names as an alias for another dangerous website delivering malware downloads.”
The enthusiasm from fans only entices the hackers to target them along with businesses sponsoring the events through denial of service attacks, said Nathan Wenzler, principal security architect for AsTech Consulting, a San Francisco-based independent security consulting company.