Cyber criminals target 2010

Johannesburg, 08 May 2009

As the 2010 Fifa World Cup approaches, there is no silver bullet that will guarantee 100% IT security. What is almost certain, however, is that the country will experience an increase in cyber crime.

This is according to Symantec senior threat researcher, Candid W"uest, who was speaking at a Symantec security round table in Pretoria. It featured a 2010 security discussion with Maiendra Moodley, partner at Maiendra Moodley and Associates, as well as Philippe Verveer, who served as the director of technology in the International Olympic Committee in Switzerland.

“We've seen with large sporting events such as previous soccer world cups and Olympic Games, that there have been malicious threats coming in as well as a spike of spam messages looking to take advantage of the event,” said W"uest. “In the 2006 World cup, we saw a spike by more than 60%.”

Fraudulent Web sites

According to W"uest, SA could see legitimate Web sites relating to the 2010 World Cup becoming infected with Trojan horses in the near-future. These Trojans would then be downloaded onto the user's computer in an attempt by the cyber criminal to gain access to sensitive information. W"uest calls for Internet users to become vigilant against fraudulent Web sites claiming to sell 2010 tickets and stealing users' money in the process.

Moodley says now is the time when cyber criminals are looking to hijack Web sites and lure people into fraudulent ticketing sales and accommodation: “This is the time when we are going to really start seeing these trends as 2010 tickets are now being sold.

“Identity theft and botnets could likely happen as well. We saw this two weeks ago with the swine flu. When users Googled 'swine flu outbreak', the chances of coming across a malicious Web site was 60% within the first 10 results.”

Secure Web sites

Verveer points out: “The Soccer World Cup and the Olympics are the more visible and complex sporting events in the world. The Fifa Local Organising Committee (LOC) has to approach the security technology from three directions: confidentiality, integrity and availability.

“The Beijing LOC's official Web site had more than three billion page views. Its peak saw nine million visitors in one day. Countries that don't have resiliency built in are more exposed because they have no critical security backup path. SA will need to make sure the right infrastructure security is implemented.”

According to Symantec's Security Threat Report, released earlier this year, malicious activity is increasing in countries with rapidly emerging Internet infrastructures, such as SA. Last year, Egypt was the top ranked country for viruses in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Related stories:
Spammers capitalise on swine flu
Symantec Africa geared for growth
Malware reaches record levels
Fifa dismisses online ticketing woes