There has been a spike in 2010 soccer World Cup-related malware and other online threats, US technology security company Symantec has warned.
Symantec CEO Enrique Salem, who is in SA this week, says there has been a jump in advanced-fee fraud scams — better known to South Africans as “419” scams — with crooks taking advantage of the soccer showcase.
There has also been a 27% increase in spam directly related to the World Cup, Symantec says.
“The weakest link remains the end user, with socially engineered attacks, and attackers taking advantage of big events like the World Cup,” Salem says.
He says Symantec has also noticed an increase in the number of computers in SA that have been compromised and being used for attacks. These machines — known as “botnets” when strung together and harnessed by criminals — are then used to send spam and launch remote attacks.
“There is a rise in threats and botnets as a result of the World Cup, coupled with a rise in the number of broadband users in SA,” Salem says.
Symantec SA country manager Gordon Love says most of the World Cup-related threats are 419 scams related to ticketing and transport at the event. In ticketing, fraudsters are setting up fake online lotteries to take advantage of ticketless soccer fans eager to get to games.
Salem says online security threats have risen dramatically in the past few years. “In 2008, we had to produce 1,6m signatures to block the threats,” he says. “That was more than the previous 17 years combined. Last year, we produced 2,9m signatures.” — Duncan McLeod, TechCentral