UK remains oblivious to Olympic cyber scams

A new report released by McAfee suggests the UK's public may be too complacent.
Written by Charlie Osborne, Contributing Writer

A new report released by McAfee suggests the UK's public may be too complacent in terms of cybersecurity during the games this summer. Caught in the throes of male gymnastics or women's volleyball, protecting their mobile devices and personal data may not be at the top of everyone's lists.

However, such high-profile events tend to draw the unwanted attention of those who want to take the opportunity to infect a device, promote a scam, and relieve you of either money or personal data, which can occasionally be sold for a tidy profit.

A survey by OnePoll on behalf of security company McAfee has revealed that only 13 percent of the British public have considered this possibility. 2,000 UK adults, aged 18 and above, were polled in June 2012, and only a small number of them are concerned with cyber threats spoiling their glee at the Olympic games.

According to OnePoll, many remained oblivious of the methods that can be used to scam someone at such high-profile events -- including phishing scams, messages and images sent via Bluetooth, fake lotteries and ticket sales. McAfee has already discovered and prevented a number of these operations.

Speaking at the recent Lord Mayor's Annual Defence and Security Lecture, head of MI5 Jonathan Evans sad security preparations were "well underway", but an "astonishing" number of cyber attacks is a threat to sporting spectators.

However, not all hope is lost. The report did find that many were taking precautions to protect themselves against risks they may face during sporting events:

  • 65 percent stated they will add a PIN code to their smartphone device;
  • 61 percent plan to switch off Bluetooth services on their smartphones before attending sporting events;
  • 32 percent said they were considering installing security software onto their device.

But how to adequately protect yourself at these events? Raj Samani, CTO EMEA at McAfee said:

"There are some very simple steps that everyone can take to protect themselves and their devices from cyber sporting scams this summer. Firstly, think twice before jumping on a public Wi-Fi connection -- they're hotbeds for data theft and scamming. Secondly, turn off file-sharing when you are on the move to prevent hackers from stealing sensitive data from your mobile device. Thirdly, turn off geo-tagging on your mobile device before posting photos on sites like Facebook so your location information won't fall into the wrong hands.
Finally, if it looks too good to be true, it normally is. Be wary of phony websites, emails, texts and pop-ads offering deals on tickets to sporting events."
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