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Ready, set, scam: Cybercriminals targeting Olympic Games fans

By Shannon Williams
Wed 28 Jul 2021
FYI, this story is more than a year old

Cybercriminals are aiming to take advantage of Olympic Games fans by instigating various online fraud schemes, according to Kaspersky. 

After an unprecedented year-long delay, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics started on July 23, 2021. Due to COVID-19, all the events are taking place with no spectators.

Cybersecurity firm Kaspersky says sport enthusiasts should not forget that cybercriminals will aim to take advantage of fans' eagerness to watch the Olympic Games with cyber scams.

To get a better overview of how scammers are trying to monetise viewers' interest, Kaspersky experts analysed Olympic-related phishing websites designed to steal users credentials. As a result, Kaspersky researchers found fake pages offering to stream various Olympic events, selling tickets for competitions that wont have spectators, various giveaways and even the first fake Olympic Games virtual currency.

Live Streams
Unsurprisingly, with more spectators moving from stadiums to online, Kaspersky 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.   

Examples of phishing pages offering to stream the Olympics

Fake Tickets
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. Kaspersky experts also discovered pages offering refunds for already purchased tickets.

Olympic-Related Entities
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.

Gifts
No big public event is complete without fraudsters imitating extremely generous giveaways. Thus, Kaspersky experts 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 needs 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.

"Cybercriminals always use popular sports events as bait for their attacks," says Olga Svistiunova, security expert at Kaspersky.

"This year, the Olympics will be 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," she says.

"For example, this year, we discovered an interesting phishing page selling Olympic Games Official Token," Svistiunova says.

"There is no real equivalent of such thing, that means that cybercriminals are not only faking already existing baits but also come up with their own new sophisticated ideas."


 

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