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Hackers are targeting the Rio Olympics, so watch out for these cyberthreats

Michael Kan | July 21, 2016
Cyberterrorists and hacktivists could also try to disrupt the event

rio olympics tickets

The Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro will attract more than just athletes and tourists this year. Hackers from across the world will also be on the prowl, trying to exploit the international event.  

That means visitors to the Olympics and even people watching from home should be careful. Cyberthreats related to the games will probably escalate over the coming weeks and could creep into your inbox or the websites you visit.

Don't click if it's too good to be true

The Olympics have become a beacon for cyber criminals, said Samir Kapuria, senior vice president with security firm Symantec. A great deal of money is spent on the international event, so hackers naturally want a slice of the pie, he added.

During past major sporting events, hackers have come up with fake ticketing and betting services to commit fraud on unsuspecting users. They’ll also use phishing emails and social media posts to spread malware.

Computer users will see these messages and links, expecting to view a video on a record-breaking Javelin throw or a bargain on great seats to the event. But in reality, they’ll end up downloading ransomware that can take their data hostage, Kapuria warned.

“Think before you click, especially if something looks too good to be true,” he said.

Thomas Fischer, a security researcher at Digital Guardian, has already been noticing an increase in phishing scams trying to take advantage of the Olympics.

Typically, a user will receive an email loaded with an attachment that invites them to an Olympics ticket lottery. Inside the attachment, however, is malicious code that will download the Locky ransomware and begin encrypting all the user’s files.

Hackers are already blanketing email addresses with this kind of attack. They’ll also pretend to be an organization like an Olympics committee, he added. “Anyone can receive these emails,” Fischer said. “They usually come in English.”

Brazilian hackers like to target banking data

Visitors who actually make the trip to Rio de Janeiro will be entering a country well known for online banking fraud, according to security firms. It doesn’t help that local laws there might not be strong enough to fight cybercrime.

Trend Micro has been following the cyber crime scene in Brazil and noted in a report that hackers there “exhibit a blatant disregard for the law.”

“They will abuse social media and talk about their criminal enterprise, without fear of prosecution,” said Ed Cabrera, the company’s vice president of cyber security.

Many of these Brazilian hackers are developing Trojans that pretend to be legitimate banking software, but in actuality can steal the victim’s payment information. However, much of this Brazilian malware is focused on targeting local users, and not necessarily foreign tourists, Cabrera said.

 

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