Beware of 2012 London Olympics Spam Email Cyberattacks

2012 London Olympics spam email campaigns are already being sent, even though we are still months away from the opening ceremony. The run up to a big sporting tournament sees many sports fans download malware to their devices, and many reveal sensitive information by taking part in competitions to win free tickets. When people are excited. they tend to take more risks; and people are very excited about the Olympics – especially those living in the British Isles.

2012 London Olympics spam email ticket scams are already being sent

How often do the Olympics come to a country close enough for it to be feasible to actually attend an event or two? For most people that is very rare occurrence. People living in Britain or Ireland will see the 2012 sports extravaganza as finally being within reach. Unfortunately, with the combined population of the UK and Ireland being around 68 million people, there are too many to fit into the London Olympic stadium and the other venues hosting this year’s Olympic events. Tickets are therefore difficult to obtain and are in short supply.

A ticketing system exists that allows people to enter their names for the events they want to see. However, it is something of a lottery as to whether a ticket can actually be purchased, and only a lucky few will get to see their preferred events.

Where there is high demand for tickets and a short supply, there is money to be made. Touts buy up tickets to sell at an inflated price. Online criminals have got in on the act and are taking advantage of the huge popularity of the sports events to launch Olympic ticket scams. Many of these scams are delivered by email.

Unwanted tickets are being offered online, touts are pushing their over-priced tickets, and cybercriminals are selling fake tickets to popular events. It is therefore a time to be ultra-cautious, and you should not buy tickets from unauthorized sellers. If that means you cannot get to see an event, that is unfortunately just the way it is. If you are offered a ticket via email by a stranger, it is almost certain that it is a scam.

That scam may not just be designed to get you to pay £1,000 for your fake ticket. In many cases, the purpose of the spam email is to get you to reveal your bank account details, credit card number, or install malware on your computer or portable device.

Phishing attacks are popular with cybercriminals, and unsurprisingly many 2012 London Olympics spam email campaigns have been devices to get sports fans to reveal their bank account details and credit card numbers.

Individuals are also being targeted with spear phishing emails. Instead of sending millions of emails offering tickets to the 100M final or opening ceremony, some scammers are researching their targets to maximize the probability of getting a response.

There is no point offering 3-day event tickets to your average soccer fan. They are unlikely to respond. However, if you know a soccer fan that is planning to travel to London from France, offering that person a ticket to see a France soccer game is likely to get a better response – especially if they are known to be in the UK at the time and have said on social media they are trying to get a ticket. Criminals research individuals on social media and create highly targeted phishing emails.

Employers must be particularly careful as Olympic fever will grip many workers. They may respond to a 2012 London Olympics spam email at work and inadvertently download a virus or nasty malware. Protecting the network is going to be harder over the coming months.

Now is therefore a good time to issue warnings to staff to be wary. Advise employees of the methods that can be used to identify spam email and you will minimize the probability of an employee responding. Such tactics are reasonably effective at preventing malware infections and accidental disclosures of confidential company information.

Unfortunately, all it takes is for one individual to respond to a 2012 London Olympics spam email for a network to be compromised, so other tactics should also be employed. We recommend installing an Anti-Spam solution to stop the 2012 London Olympics spam email campaigns from ever reaching end users.

As for Anti-phishing protections, a web filter is the ideal solution. This will prevent users from visiting Olympics-themed websites that have been infected with malware or contain malicious code.

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Elizabeth Hernandez

Elizabeth Hernandez is a news writer on Defensorum. Elizabeth is an experienced journalist who has worked on many publications for several years. Elizabeth writers about compliance and the related areas of IT security breaches. Elizabeth's has focus on data privacy and secure handling of personal information. Elizabeth has a postgraduate degree in journalism. Elizabeth Hernandez is the editor of HIPAAZone.