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Technology / Cybersecurity

4 of the biggest cyber security threats at Rio Olympics 2016

The Olympic Games are a time of great enjoyment for many, but they also present obstacles and hazards. A fairly recent, but increasingly important entry on the list of dangers is cyber threats.

CBR looks at some of the top security threats facing attendees of the Rio De Janeiro Olympics this year. Most of them can be solved through vigilance and good cyber security hygiene.


1. Phishing

Figures are emerging showing the number of fake social media accounts purportedly associated with the Olympics.

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According to Proofpoint research, 15 percent of Olympics-related social media accounts were fraudulent and 82 percent were imposter accounts, misleadingly using Olympic branding to attract followers.

Proofpoint found that 6 percent used the popularity of the Olympics to steal follower credentials in phishing attacks.

However, the social media accounts themselves don’t necessarily need to send the phishing attack directly.

Attackers could take key information from the social media profiles of the new followers, such as their job and their interests. This is then fed into the phishing email to convince the victim that this comes from someone who knows them.


2. Rogue apps

Another threat to consider are fake Olympics-related mobile apps. Research from Allot Communications found that the percentage of business user sports fans using social media apps reached 30.2 percent during the event versus 9.7 percent before the event.

An example of a typical scam is this: a conference attendee receives an email with a link purporting to be from the conference host.

The email provides what seems to be links to Google Play and the App Store, with what appear to be official Google and Apple logos.

When the user clicks these icons, they are immediately prompted to download the app, rather than being sent to the application stores.

Once the app is downloaded and the device owner has given it the appropriate permissions, the device is fully compromised.


3. Unsecured wi-fi

Travellers to the Olympics from abroad may be keen to avoid the high roaming charges from visiting another country. The understandable solution is to be on the look-out for local wi-fi hotspots and to connect as often as possible.

However, hackers will be sensing an opportunity here. A fake wi-fi hotspot could masquerade as the local network at the Olympics, with a deceptive name like ‘Rio Official’, for example.

These spoof hotspots can be owned and maintained by attackers and used to capture user information as it passes across the network.

Genuine public wi-fi can also facilitate cyber threats: an unlocked wi-fi hotspot is simply a network that doesn't require a password. Since they are unsecured, hackers can access these to get at the information.


4. Physical loss or theft

Compared to most of the threats on this list, physical loss has been around for a long time. But that doesn’t mean it is any less of a danger in the digital era.

According to official travel advice from the UK government, the most common incidents affecting British nationals are thefts or pick pocketing around Copacabana Beach, Ipanema Beach and the Lapa area.

The Government’s website advises travellers to keep mobile phones and other valuables out of sight.

Basic protections such as having a password can deter an unsophisticated hacker. Many mobile device management solutions provide protocols for wiping information from
This article is from the CBROnline archive: some formatting and images may not be present.