Antivirus software provider ESET is warning internet users to be extra vigilant over the coming months and to be particularly careful when viewing Olympic 2012 related content.
The warning comes as the first Olympic tickets go on sale this week, triggering an inevitable flurry of London 2012 scams.
Quinton Watts, VP of marketing ESET UK comments, "Online hackers and criminals regularly use popular events and hot topics as their 'hook' to lure people into clicking on malicious links or downloading viruses. The London 2012 Olympics is of such high public interest that we will certainly see a host of online threats and scams. The sale of tickets is just the beginning.”
Watts continues, "Internet users should be particularly vigilant about emails or links concerning very popular events like finals of the athletics competition and the beach volleyball tournament – which consistently sells out and being hosted at Horse Guards Parade will be a major draw for the public. Online criminals are likely to focus on these events. Cyber criminals often operate with a business mentality, if they take the time to write code and develop a virus they will want to maximise their results and get a ‘return on their investment’.”
A particular issue will be the length of time between when members of the public pre-registered for tickets, and when they finally go on sale.
Watts continues, “For some people it’s been several months since they pre-registered for their tickets. This will cause potential confusion about which ticket emails to trust and which are from official sources. This opens a possible vulnerability for users which cyber criminals could exploit.”
ESET offers the following advice:
1 Check your previous registration emails so you are sure which future emails are from official and legitimate London 2012 sources
2 Don’t open - and be sure to immediately delete - any emails which you do not believe to be authentic
3 Before you buy Olympic tickets check what the face value cost of that ticket should be – if a ticket seems too cheap then you should be suspicious of the source
4 Malicious links can come from a variety of sources not just email – be wary of Facebook messages, Twitter posts and messages to smartphones – messages may also appear to come from known contacts, so be vigilant at all times
5 Only buy your tickets from official vendors
6 Do not buy from internet auction sites
7 Do not buy from websites with an overseas office address, always look to see if they have a registered address.
8 Ensure that your anti virus software is properly installed and up to date – click on any update messages now to ensure you have the latest version running and you are protected from all the latest threat