Threat Level Thursday: Cyber Crime Loves the FIFA World Cup 2014
Welcome to this week's Threat Level Thursday, where we'll be focusing on the FIFA World Cup 2014 in Brazil, which kicks off today. Guess what, travelers and soccer fans? There's a whole world out there to get you. In fact, you might land in a trap just Googling your favorite striker.
Make no mistake, Brazil during the World Cup will basically be a cyber warzone. A recent cybersecurity report released by Symantec calls Brazil's World Cup a "rich target for criminals." In fact, Brazil has already been deemed by Interpol as a major center for illegal smartphone trafficking.
Even the big guns will be out at play. According to Reuters, the famous hacking group Anonymous is planning to attack major World Cup sponsors during the tournament as a way of protesting the lavish spending. The group already slipped into the Brazil's Foreign Ministry earlier this week and leaked emails.
"We have already conducted late-night tests to see which of the sites are more vulnerable," said a hacker who operates under the name Che Commodore. "We have a plan of attack."
Which gets us to the next point of sale: credit cards.
Those with any form of credit should have heard about the incessant barrage of cyberthefts associated with credit cards. Although not as lucrative as health records, credit cards are one of the easiest ways for hackers and black market buyers to profit of off -- you.
"Fraud events follow specific sporting events, and ATM and point-of-sale skimming of credit card accounts are rife for fraud, especially at high-density events in smaller and mid-sized cities," Seth Ruden, senior fraud consultant for ACI, told Computer World. "There's a significant chance of an organized fraud effort by organized crime at the World Cup."
Smartphones with NFC technology could help mitigate the concerns, but Brazil isn't a huge NFC town. And there's the fact that, well, as we mentioned earlier, smartphones aren't exactly safe either. For example, joining open Wi-Fi networks, which will surely be a commodity, given the high costs of international data roaming, will also open users up to malicious hackers much like the Sochi Winter Olympics. In the end, the best bet is to pay with cash, and most experts recommend that you don't let anybody walk out of your sight with a credit card.
The Red Card Club
If you thought that only those in Brazil were at risk from World Cup cybercrime, think again. Anybody with Internet access and curiosity is a potential victim too. Security firm McAfee recently released a report exposing the "Red Card Club," 11 Brazil-bound soccer stars "whose web pages are considered to be risky for fans to search for online."
Topping the list is Cristiano Ronaldo (naturally), followed by Messi, and then Spanish goalkeeper Iker Casillas.
"We want to caution consumers through the McAfee 'Red Card Club' to not to let their guard down as they join in all the excitement surrounding the World Cup online. Be especially wary of videos promising to show your idol's skills as you might get more than you bargain for," said McAfee consumer vice president David Freer. "Cyber criminals will definitely try to capitalize on 'World Cup fever', so it's wise not to be complacent by downloading content that might put you at risk."
Lesson? The World Cup can be a scary place, even from your own couch.
For more stories like this, follow us on Twitter!
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!