Cyber-criminals to take advantage of London 2012 Olympics

16 Jul 2012

Olympics Stadium in London. Photo by David Poultney for LOCOG/London 2012 Olympics

Cyber-criminals are expected to leverage the London 2012 Olympics’ presence on social media, and data storage giant EMC’s security division RSA is warning fans to be wary of cyber-criminals’ attempts to steal their money and personal information through social networks.

The London 2012 Olympics is expected to be the world’s largest-ever social media event, EMC said.

“Social media will be a major vehicle for Olympics-related fraud this year,” said Jason Ward, EMC’s country manager in Ireland.

“Fraudsters worldwide will try to leverage public interest around the Olympics to launch cyber attacks with the goal of stealing personal information, particularly through social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

“It is important that social network users exercise caution when clicking on links that are allegedly sent from the sites themselves. Olympics fans should avoid directly responding to email alerts that appear to come from the social networks. Instead, they should go directly to these sites by typing their URLs directly into the browser or by using a browser bookmark,” said Ward.

Fake Olympics tickets scam

EMC also warned that Olympics-themed phishing emails will be among the most popular tactics used to steal personal information. For instance, some internet users have already been led to believe they won tickets to the Games and just needed to fill out a form with personal information to claim their prizes.

“Fans should be aware, too, of fake ticketing sites that try to lure unsuspecting internet users looking for tickets for popular events, such as swimming and track and field,” said Ward.

“These scammers are trying to get their hands on your money – and your financial information.”

The official site has a ‘Ticket Checker’ where fans can check the URL of the site on which they are considering buying tickets to determine whether the site is real.

Tina Costanza was a journalist and sub-editor at Silicon Republic