Cyber criminals will target World Cup fans

South Africa’s hosting of the 2010 Soccer World Cup will make it the target of an intense cybercrime wave in the lead-up to the FIFA tournament in June, security experts have warned.

According to IT security vendor Symantec, the combination of massive online commercial activity around the event, allied to rapid expansion of South Africa’s broadband infrastructure, will bring a steep rise in users vulnerable to Internet fraud, and of e-rogues out to make them victims of malware and website scams.

Upgrades to South Africa’s broadband infrastructure – driven by its imminent connection to the two new undersea telecommunications cables, EASSy and Seacom – will enable more of the continents’ computers users to be able to afford to follow the 2010 World Cup online, and to use the Internet to book match tickets, buy merchandise, and gamble on results. Hackers will also be targeting legitimate World Cup websites to hack for customer information, Symantec warns, and to turn into ‘bot’ command and control servers to launch spam email campaigns during the course of the tournament.

“The World Cup will be a unique experience for South African Internet community,” says Symantec regional director for Africa, Gordon Love. The country will soon be in the “‘eye of a perfect storm’ caused by hosting a major global sporting event,” he predicts.

World Cup ticket scams are a primary risk, says Love; football fans travelling to South Africa looking to book accommodation, car hire, and tour packages, should also beware of bogus website. Business users will also be targeted by frausters, Love believes, as the tournament will be a popular choice for corporate hospitality. Symantec’s Global Intelligence Network unit has launched a website that will report on World Cup threat activity in the run-up to, and during, the event. More information technology news.

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