The biggest sporting event of the year is almost ending its first phase, but it’s never too late to be smart about the types of crimes and defend yourself
(updated at 9:58 pm)
Big events are always a lure for cybercriminals, who take advantage of the popularity and intensity of news to catch victims unaware. The FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 is no different, so it’s good to keep an eye on the main practices of bandits and the best ways to protect yourself.
According to official FIFA data, the 2018 World Cup in Russia was watched by almost 3.6 billion people — the final alone was watched by more than 1 billion. And audiences in Qatar are expected to reach similar or higher numbers.
And all this public can be considered potential victims of bandits. Below are the main scams and frauds that must be applied by bandits during the event:
World Cup sticker coup
In this case, the event had not even started and there were already reports of bandits distributing a false promotion message via WhatsApp. The promise was of an illustrated book with 40 packs of stickers for users, in exchange for registrations and shares. As always, there is a sense of urgency that can convince a lot of people, mainly because the type of text and layout of the pages look a lot like the official Panini website, the company that actually markets the products.
As the main searches during the weeks of the tournament will be about matches, results and news, the crooks take the opportunity to use a well-known technique: by “poisoning” the search engine optimization (or SEO), their malicious pages manage to temporarily appear in the first results. This gives a false sense of credibility, which ends up dragging many victims to malware sites.
Misinformation on social media
As we know, social networks are widely used at major sporting events, and the same should happen with this year’s World Cup. Therefore, many malicious campaigns are expected on all platforms, from TikTok to Facebook.
Who doesn’t like to have a “little faith” during the World Cup, right? The problem is when cybercriminals are behind the organization of sweepstakes, especially with “unmissable opportunities” in prizes. There are a lot of legitimate sweepstakes being publicized out there, but the bad guys take advantage of this precisely to take advantage of the victims.
Well, this type of scam is not limited to the World Cup or events of such a large scale, but it usually comes back with full force in such popular events. Afraid of missing out on opportunities, victims are usually convinced by bandits, who do everything to make the sense of urgency and the “unique opportunity” materialize into a crime.
Phishing and Malware
Messages via advertisements or e-mail using news about the World Cup are already infesting the mails and cell phones of thousands of people, with texts that incite them to click on links or download and run files. The crooks’ goal is to steal credentials or infect devices.
How to protect yourself from the main blows at the 2022 World Cup
Well, it is worth noting that no tickets are sold outside of FIFA’s virtual environments, so Golpe dos Ingressos already comes with a caution that applies to all others: research well before sending any money or closing any transaction. People from security firm Avast listed other important tips:
- Always look for official websites and app stores when downloading programs and updates. Avoid third-party applications as much as possible, as this can put cell phones and machines at risk of malware infection capable of controlling and accessing data;
- Do not click on suspicious links, such as those sent by strangers, referring to purchases, for example, that you did not make; related to accounts that you do not have, or links that do not correspond to the service mentioned in the messages;
- Enable two-factor authentication whenever possible to add an extra layer of protection to your device.
- Always have strong and unique passwords when creating an online account, or better, use a password manager to take care of that for you;
- Use reputable antivirus or security software to increase ongoing protection against online threats or attacks by detecting and stopping malicious software on devices.
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