Cybercriminals have no limit when it comes to creating new ways to take advantage and the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympic games which came to life after an unprecedented year-long delay have not been spared either.
Though the pandemic reduced physical risks in terms of health and from a cybersecurity point of view (such as data theft using the vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi at the stadiums), cybercriminals have not relaxed, they are hard at work at the Olympic games.
Sport enthusiasts should not forget that cybercriminals will aim to take advantage of fans’ eagerness to watch the Olympic Games by instigating various online fraud schemes.
To get a better overview of how scammers are trying to monetise viewers’ interest, researchers from Kaspersky analysed Olympic-related phishing websites designed to steal users’ credentials.
As a result, found fake pages offering to stream various Olympic events, selling tickets for competitions that won’t have spectators, various giveaways and even the first fake Olympic Games virtual currency.
Unsurprisingly, with more spectators moving from stadiums to online, experts found various phishing pages offering to stream the Olympic Games. Some of them ask for people to register before watching.
Usually in such phishing pages, once a user enters their credentials, they might be redirected to a page that distributes different malicious files. Besides having malware installed on their device through such files, users sent their identifying information to untrustworthy hands. After that, scammers may start using such data for bad purposes or sell it in the Dark Web.
Despite there being no events held with spectators in person this year, fraudsters are not shying away from trying well-tested (yet, somehow still effective) fraud attempts, like selling offline event tickets. Experts also discovered pages offering refunds for already purchased tickets.
Analysing discovered pages, Kaspersky experts also found examples of phishing pages disguised as official Olympic ones such as a page pretending to be an official website for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a page mimicking International Olympic Committee. The last one, for instance, collects users’ MS Services credentials.
No big public event is complete without fraudsters imitating extremely generous giveaways. Thus, researchers also found phishing pages offering to win a TV, ideal to watch the Olympic Games on. This is quite popular and, usually, each user becomes a lucky winner; with the chosen ones only needing to pay for delivery fee. No need to say, the TV never gets to the deceived user.
Olympic Games Token
Finally, and most importantly, Kaspersky researchers found the first ever virtual currency, which is a support fund for Olympic athletes. A fake one. If a user buys the token, the scammers offer to support financially talented sportsmen around the world who are in need.
Commenting on cybercriminal activities at the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, Olga Svistiunova, security expert at Kaspersky said, “Cybercriminals always use popular sports events as bait for their attacks. This year, the Olympics is being held without spectators – thus, we do not expect a big number of related attacks. Still, we observe that fraudsters have no limit when it comes to creating new ways to take advantage.”
To protect yourself and your close ones from Olympics-related phishing, experts recommend:
- Сheck the link before clicking. Hover over it to preview the URL, and look for misspelling or other irregularities.
- Check the authenticity of websites before entering personal data and only use official webpages to watch the Olympic Games. Double-check URL formats and company name spellings.
- Use a reliable security solution that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites.