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Threats Surrounding London Olympics 2012

Large, international sporting events such as this summer’s London Games or the FIFA World Cup provide excellent grounds for cybercriminals to launch their malicious activities. This shouldn’t surprise anyone because, with a worldwide audience deciphered in billions, such attractive event does not just pave the way for malicious attacks, but can result in lucrative gains too. These attacks may take shape in different forms, such as fake websites claiming live streaming, sites that sell cheap but bogus tickets to sporting events, and even malicious apps related to a particular sporting discipline. Even the simple act of misspelling a website’s URL can result in the download of malicious malware. This is how some users came to download fake variants after a supposedly legitimate search.

When random users of search engines searched for the keywords “see London Olympics live,” “watch London games,” and “watch live Olympics 2012,” a number of malicious websites appeared in the top ten Google and Yahoo searches. This is likely achieved through Black Hat Search Engine Optimization, but the point is that users should be cautious when clicking through the many available sites. Other bogus live streaming web pages ask for an email address in order to redirect you to another website. These email addresses are often collected by cybercriminals and then used for their spam activities.

In a similar instance, VikingPC detected a fraudulent page promoting itself on Facebook, claiming to sell London Games tickets. Upon a detailed check-up, it was revealed to be a phishing site, created to collect personal information from unsuspecting victims.

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In another case study, researchers spotted spam email messages containing shocking content to attract attention. In one instance, the shocking news involved US gymnast Gabrielle Douglas. Once the links provided in the email text are clicked, the naive user is redirected to a YouTube page that requests the installation of Adobe Flash Player to view the ‘shocking’ video.

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Billions of email accounts are active worldwide, providing cybercriminals with fertile grounds for an attack. Caution is therefore always recommended when opening email messages. Links from unknown sources must not be clicked and information must always be accessed from legitimate news sites.

Author Bio: This article was written by malware and online security team at VikingPC.

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