SINGAPORE--It appears that the Beijing 2008 Olympics will draw more than just the best sporting talents worldwide, according to security vendor Websense.
Cyber-criminals are likely to focus their attacks on the upcoming Games, Arun Chaudhury, Websense's technical consultant for Southeast Asia, said Tuesday at an event hosted by Websense.
Malaysia-based Chaudhury noted that cyber-attackers have in the past exploited high-profile events either for financial gain or to lure unsuspecting Web users into downloading malicious code. During the FIFA World Cup 2006, malware writers set up a fake site that installed a Trojan horse onto end-users' machines. Another example was the Hurricane Katrina disaster, where there were fake donation sites put online to deceive donors.
Similarly, the global scale of the Beijing 2008 Olympics could fuel a surge in Web-based attacks, said Chaudhury.
"We predict the possibility of large-scale denial of service attacks on Beijing 2008-related sites as political statements and fraud attempts spread through e-mail and the Web," explained Chaudhury.
"Additionally, Websense predicts compromises of popular Olympic news or other sports sites which are being updated hourly and viewed by millions of visitors all over the world. These attacks are designed to install malicious code on end-users' machines and steal personal or business confidential information," he added.
To mitigate such threats, Web site owners should regularly patch all applications including the Web server operating system, perform vulnerability assessments and employ Web site integrity tools to back up data on the Web server.
Malware variants, Websense reported, have grown from about 20,000 in 2002 to 220,000 last year. Nearly 80 percent of all threats today are Web-based, said Chaudhury.