FIFA World Cup 2010 kicks off cyber-attack fears

12 May 2009

IT security player Symantec has warned computer users to take care and protect themselves against an extensive number of attacks over the internet that are likely to hit around the time of the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament.

Symantec’s Security Response Lab has already seen evidence of FIFA-related spam, and expects this to grow in the run-up to the event.

During the previous FIFA World Cup, related phishing attacks jumped by 40pc, and as many as 4,615 phishing hosts per month were discovered in 2008, up 66pc over the previous year.  

“Attackers on the internet either try to compromise legitimate websites, and so gain sensitive information, or they spam email users with messages that try to persuade users to go to illegitimate websites where their personal information can be harvested,” said Candid Wüest, senior security researcher for Symantec.

These types of attacks are very common around large-scale sporting events, resulting in lost orders for those businesses that offer related goods and services online.

Symantec warns that the London 2012 Olympics may also fall victim to these attacks. According to Symantec’s monthly spam reports, around 10pc of all spam in 2008 was fraud-related, such as those advertising false tickets.

In order to help prevent these spam attacks, organisations need to secure the integrity of their information, particularly confidential information provided by users who are accessing websites offering services and products relating to the event.

Hackers will attempt to gain access to valuable information through compromising user accounts, for instance, and can also reach customer information held in databases that run behind these websites.

“Organisations should not assume that, in the case of their websites being compromised, the only risk they face is text being altered,” said Wüest.

By John Kennedy