Keep yourself safe from cyber security threats at the World Cup

Large sporting venues, such as the 2014 World Cup, are always places associated with having a good time, and enjoying one’s self.  But these events are also places where major security breaches can occur.  The images of thousands of police cops barricading the venues, and stampeding fans are now mostly a thing of the past.  Today’s security threats are increasingly cyber related. While other countries around the world may have their guard up for protecting their citizens against cyber attacks, the visitors and tourists in Brazil, where the World Cup is being held, should be especially vigilant.Image of Security at the World Cup | NTT ICT

Why is this so?  To start off with, according to Symantec, Brazil ranks 8th in the world for the number of cyber attacks which occur globally.  To make matters even worse, Brazil lacks of any kind of legislation or regulations for dealing with cyber security. 

As a result, one of the biggest cyber security threats during the World Cup is that of fake Wi-Fi Hotspots, which can be found virtually anywhere.  In a country like Brazil, many of these Hotspots are unsecured, meaning any passwords or other credentials you use to log into your computer are sent as ‘Plaintext’.  This means that a hacker can very easily intercept and decipher your username and password. 

One of the most striking incidents of a cyber security breach occurred when the Wi-Fi network name and password for the organisation providing security at the World Cup were accidentally revealed by a newspaper agency.  The password went viral across all of the social media channels, especially Twitter, where it was retweeted some 2,000 different times.

So, how does one protect against a Wi-Fi Hotspot breach?  While there is no magic bullet, one of the best ways to maintain your guard is to be extremely vigilant, especially that of your physical surroundings.  In other words, don’t log into a Hotspot at a popular public place such as a restaurant or a café.

Instead, log into it at a more secure facility such as your hotel room, where a secured connection is more likely to be guaranteed.  This will ensure that your login credentials are scrambled, or ‘encrypted’, during network transmission. Most important to remember is though, never shop online if you have any doubts about the security of the Hotspot.

Another type of cyber security threat to be aware of during the World Cup is that of receiving fake tickets and hotel reservation confirmations online.  To mitigate against this type of risk, one should always purchase the venue tickets and make hotel reservations from an authentic, reputable place whose identity can be confirmed without any doubts.

The third type of cyber security threat during the World Cup is that of malicious mobile applications.  It can be very easy to get spoofed into downloading a fake app, so the best defense is just to try to avoid downloading any type or kind of apps during this event.  Also, be on guard for any suspicious e-mails which request you to download any mobile app updates.

Brazil is also famous for its very sophisticated ATM machine scams.  Many hackers and Identity Theft thieves tamper with or rig ATM machines, in order to capture credit card or debit card numbers.  These types of incidents occur outside the main public venues. To protect yourself against ATM fraud during the World Cup, always withdraw cash at a central bank location, and during their normal hours of business operation.  Always try to check for any signs of tampering, and never ever accept help in using an ATM machine from a stranger--always ask an employee at the bank.

While the world watches the world cup with anticipation, fans need to keep an eye on their cyber safety as well as their team. 

Author Name: Ravi Das

Ravi is the President/CEO of Apollo Biometrics, Inc., a leading security consultancy headquartered in Chicago, with offices in New York City. Ravi just wrote his first book entitled "Biometrics: Authentication, Biocryptography, and Cloud Based Architecture", and will be in ebook and print formats by November.

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Ankur Puri
Author Name: Ankur Puri

Ankur Puri is Regional Manager, Wholesale and Carriers for NTT ICT. He has 17 years of experience working in multinational telecom and IT organisations in Australia and India. He has built trusted relationships with international carriers and enterprise customers to ensure that they get the best network performance for their business.

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Added 3 July 2014

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