Even as Indian cricket fans await the ICC World Cup 2023, another group is equally excited about the event, albeit for nefarious reasons — cybercriminals.
Major international sporting events such as the ICC World Cup draw billions of viewers and fans, creating a perfect storm for cybercriminals. The combination of a global audience and the increased online activity surrounding the event presents a golden opportunity for malicious actors to launch a variety of cyberattacks.
- Fake tickets: Cybercriminals may create fake tickets and sell them to unsuspecting fans. These tickets may be invalid or counterfeit, and fans who purchase them may be denied entry to the stadium.
- Phishing attempts: Phishing emails and websites may impersonate official ICC World Cup communications, urging recipients to click on malicious links or provide personal information, such as credit card details.
- Fraudulent payment platforms: Be cautious when making online payments for tickets, merchandise, or services related to the event. Cybercriminals may set up fake payment platforms to steal your financial information.
- Travel scams: Scammers may pose as travel agencies offering discounted packages to attend the ICC World Cup. These fraudulent travel deals can lead to non-existent accommodations or transportation.
- Streaming matches: For fans watching matches online, it’s essential to use legitimate streaming services to avoid deceptive ads and malware.
Ahead of the Qatar FIFA World Cup, cybersecurity company McAfee also released an alert report highlighting the various risks and scams associated with major sporting events, emphasising the importance of vigilance and offering tips to protect oneself from these cyber threats during such tournaments.
Amit Relan, Co-Founder and CEO of mFilterIt, told News18: “Some of the most common cyber threats that see a rise are the use of fake accounts and misleading ads that lure users to click and even make a purchase at certain events. The misleading ads often manipulate users with ‘too-good-to-be-true deals’ and leads them to their phished or spoofed website. Eventually, the users end up entering their personal information to access the benefits and become a victim of the phishing scam.”
Saiprasad Shankar, CTO at Deciml, said that another common threat would be UPI ID spoofing, in which scammers may create deceptive UPI IDs that closely resemble legitimate ones, such as ‘bookmyyshow@upi,’ which may appear convincing, but are actually fraudulent. He further noted that all these tricks are aimed at stealing personal and financial information.
Fans are advised to remain vigilant against such cyber threats. Experts give some tips:
- Be suspicious of emails or websites that you are not expecting
- Do not click on links in emails unless you are sure they are legitimate
- As phishing emails and websites are often poorly written and may contain grammatical errors, you need to keep an eye on that.
- The users must keep in mind that the real payment platform or a genuine brand will not be pushy with their communication.
- Genuine platforms will never redirect you to a third-party website to complete payments.