Euro 2016 Doubles Cybersecurity Risks For Football Fans

CyberCrimeSecurity
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New report highlights security dangers for businesses during major sporting events like Euro 2016

Euro 2016 has placed digitally active sport fans at much greater risk, according to a new report which found threats more than doubled over the tournament’s one month duration.

The Allot Communications and Kaspersky Lab. report analysed the behavioural profiles (i.e. mobile app and website usage) of one million random sports fans from the countries taking part in Euro 2016.

Sport Risks

The problem seems to stem from mobile users who only seemed to become avid sports fans during major sporting tournaments. The report found that 17 percent of mobile users who exhibited little or no use of sports apps or websites before the games, became active sports fans during the games.

And nearly 50 percent of these “casual fans” transitioned into sports fans’ behaviour profiles with high potential risk for malware. The report found that the total number of mobile sports fans at high risk for cyber threats more than doubled during the games.

Euro 2016But what exactly is placing these casual sport fans at much greater risk during the tournament? Well, it seems that their increased use of online betting, couple with their social networking activity, are major contributors to their increased cyber security risk. Other risk factors include fake websites, downloading infected apps, ransomware, and clicking malicious links.

The report for example found that the number of mobile sports fans accessing betting sites more than doubled during the tournament’s matches. Before the matches, just 1 in 9 mobile users visited sports betting sites. During the matches, 1 in 4 visited sports betting sites.

And during the matches the average time users spent on social media apps or sites tripled over their pre-tournament activity.

“Cyber-criminals often use big events to lure users with phishing emails and fake websites, exposing fans to intensified and new potential cyber risks,” warned Alexander Karpitsky, head of technology licensing at Kaspersky Lab.

“Users should be aware of potential threats and lookout when clicking on links, entering their credentials on websites or making financial transactions. We at Kaspersky Lab recommend sport fans take a proactive approach to their online security, especially when mobile, safeguarding their devices with IT security solutions at all times.”

Not Just Football

Lens Euro 2016And with the Olympic games coming up, mobile users could potentially be ripe targets for cyber criminals.

“As sports fans are going mobile and devices are used widely for watching, recording, and sharing experiences, users must protect themselves online, and CSPs are in the best position to deliver these value added services to subscribers,” said Yaniv Sulkes at Allot Communications.

“Since major sports events are shown to be times of high risk for mobile users, it’s also when mobile service providers have an opportunity to educate customers regarding malware risks and to offer network-based security services to protect mobile devices. With Rio 2016 Summer Olympics on the horizon, mobile operators who adopt a proactive cyber protection strategy for their customers will be able to leverage monetisation opportunities.”

Experts have been warning for a while now that cybercriminals will seek to exploit the popularity of Euro 2016 and other sporting events to further their scams, which in turn impact corporate IT departments in the process.

Indeed, earlier this month researchers discovered that the official UEFA Euro 2016 Fan Guide App, which has seen more than 100,000 downloads, was exposing users’ personal data to attackers.

The official UEFA Euro 2016 Fan Guide App was found to transmit users’ personal data across an insecure connection, potentially exposing it to view by malicious users.

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Author: Tom Jowitt
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