CWG fever can lead to malware infection

CIOL Bureau
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BANGALORE, INDIA: Cybercriminals are gearing up to leverage the buzz around the Commonwealth Games and the influx of sports enthusiasts into New Delhi in October. According to IT security comany Symantec, cybercriminals are aware of the huge potential financial gains from peaks in internet activity during major sporting events and are sure to ramp up their malicious activities during this period. 


Symantec has pointed out that a recent example of cybercriminals exploiting a similar large-scale event is the recent FIFA World Cup 2010.

Cybercriminals propagated spam emails with World Cup-themed subject lines, subjecting users to 419-style scams, e-mails offering “tickets” to the games, fake accommodation providers, offers of free mobile phones, and more. In fact, malware also spread through fake videos and football-related notifications claiming to be from a social networking site. These tricks were witnessed as far back as 2008, during the Beijing Olympics when cybercriminals churned out a spate of malicious attacks with 12 million security alerts reported per day, a release said.

"With attackers directly targeting end users and attempting to trick them into downloading malware or divulging sensitive information through social engineering tactics, the upcoming Commonwealth Games are the perfect bait for cybercriminals to target Indian users with similar scams" cautioned Shantanu Ghosh, Vice President, India Product Operations, Symantec.


With the games being in the news every day, Symantec also cautions users against clicking on infected search results. Cybercriminals are known to use topics that are in the news to infect search engine results with malicious websites through advanced techniques such as SEO poisoning.

Enhanced access to the internet has also made shopping for tickets and accommodation more convenient online. As net-savvy users turn to the web for the best travel and accommodation deals in Delhi, cybercriminals may also flood their inboxes with spam and phishing emails.

Taking a leaf out of what happened during  the recent FIFA World Cup (South Africa) and Olympics (Beijing), Symantec warns internet users about maintaining caution during the Commonwealth Games. The burgeoning broadband population and the excitement around the Games will create the “perfect storm” for cybercriminals to scam sports enthusiast . Symantec has already observed this for the IPL and the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup. Though the ICC World Cup begins only on February 17, 2011, phishing sites promoting the tournament have already been luring users to give up their login credentials to obtain tickets for the matches.

Apart from online scams, fans travelling to the Commonwealth Games also need to protect their smartphones from theft. With mobile phones increasingly storing valuable information, loss of these devices can result in confidential data being compromised as well.

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