In February, the best athletes from around the world will gather in PyeongChang to test their skills against one another at the Winter Olympics. Entire countries will wait with excitement to see the outcomes of individual competitions and count the medals. However, as with any high-profile event, cybercriminals and scammers will also focus on the Games, using your interest in the Olympics to try to trick you into visiting malicious websites, opening malicious spam, downloading malware, and falling for scams. Below we will explore these tactics and techniques, and provide recommendations on how to spot and avoid them, so you can safely enjoy the Games.
Malicious Olympic Websites and Apps:
Cybercriminals commonly create convincing but fraudulent websites as a means to distribute malware or gather information about you. This year there will also likely be many suspicious and, possibly, malicious Olympic-themed mobile apps intended to compromise your smartphones and tablets. Whether you’re looking to find out the current medal count, who won the bobsled race, see an amazing figure skating routine, or find out what curling is, these malicious websites and apps will be there for you.
You can start protecting yourself by being careful what websites you visit and emails you open. As with any high-profile event, it’s always safest to get your news from websites you already know and trust. When you get that email with the link to the video you just have to see or the fascinating story of the amazing win, remember to Hover to Discover. This means to hover your mouse over the link and see where the link is really sending you. If you don’t recognize the website, don’t click on the link.
Of course, there’s also an official Olympic app for your smart device! The Olympics website says the app will contain real-time updates and news, as well as images, videos, and the medal count.
Olympic Merchandise Offers:
As with lots of other events, there will be Olympic merchandise for sale so you can display your pride and support your favorite athletes. This is great, just be careful where you buy from as you may receive emails or see online advertisements enticing you to purchase fraudulent or counterfeit items from less than reputable vendors. At best, by clicking on these advertisements and offers you will open yourself to the risk of purchasing counterfeit merchandise and at the worst, you open yourself to the risk of having your payment information or identity stolen. Display your team pride by ignoring these suspicious offers and purchasing your merchandise through a known, trusted, and authorized retailer.
It’s also a good idea to make all online purchases through an alternative or more secure payment system, such as Visa Checkout, Mastercard Securecode, or PayPal. Otherwise consider using one credit card (not a debit card!) for all online purchases. As always, remember to look for the "HTTPS" in the URL and the little lock icon in the browser bar to ensure your communication with the trusted vendor is safe. If you don’t see these, don’t submit sensitive information to that website. Lastly, remember to always make your purchases on a trusted, secure network, never through public, unsecured Wi-Fi.
We hope you safely enjoy the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics!