Hackers and scammers capitalize on big events — and the FIFA World Cup is no exception.
And, as you would expect, there are a number of scams out there aimed at World Cup fans.
These scammers are hoping that eager soccer enthusiasts will let their guard down enough so that they can get their money, access their data, and steal their identities.
But, being vigilant goes a long way!
Here are some ways these World Cup scam artists try to trick you:
#1 Free Prizes & Tickets
Anytime you get an email promising free World Cup tickets — or free anything — from someone you don’t know, you should be on high alert. One of the more common free ticket scams encourages people to click a downloadable zip file which then unleashes a virus that enables your computer to be taken over by a remote administration tool (RAT). Others ask you to click a link or fill out a questionnaire with your personal information.
#2 News & Highlights Reels
Breaking news and World Cup highlight reels are being used to entice recipients to open malicious attachments and downloads. Again, be on high alert should you receive an email which encourages you to click or download something in order to access info about the cup.
#3 Free Online Streaming
These scams show up not only in your inbox but on social media sites as well. Often these scams will ask you to complete a survey or download & install software. Again, be cautious & use your head! If something sounds too good to be true, it likely is.
(There are ways to safely and securely live stream all the FIFA World Cup action online. Read more about thatHERE.)
There’s a new form of hacking out there that you may not have heard of, but experts are saying it’s the worst kind of virus out there: it’s complicated, has affected hundreds of thousands of victims, and has cost the victims tens of millions in “ransom” paid to hackers.
Recently exposed on The Today Show, this virus known as “cryptolocker” disguises itself as an attachment in an email from a familiar source, like UPS or FedEx, but when you click on the attachment, it launches the virus and attacks your hard drive. Your screen turns red, a countdown clock appears and all your data is locked…until you pay the hackers’ requested ransom. And, the kicker is, the longer you wait, the more expensive it gets, and if you choose not to pay up, your data — family photos, sensitive files, music, medical records, etc. — are locked forever.
This sophisticated virus has been linked to a Russian crime ring. The crime ring’s servers have now been disabled, but unfortunately there are a number of copycat hackers out there hoping to hold your computer for ransom, too!
The best way to protect yourself and your data is to (1) back up your computer regularly, (2) use antivirus software, (3) use extreme caution when opening unknown or unfamiliar emails and attachments, and (4) consider encrypting your data with a VPN service so that hackers can’t seize control.
Watch The Today Show‘s full report on the cryptolocker virus below.
Protect yourself from hackers with your own personal Virtual Private Network.
Read more about about how a VPN can protect you from cybercriminals here.