World Cup set to kick off cyber scams419

Security software publisher Symantec has warned soccer fans to Internet scams relating to the upcoming World Cup, launching a website, http://www.2010net, to feature the dangers.

According to Paul Wood, senior analyst at Symantec Hosted Services, the tournament, which attracts the concentration of more than 1 billion soccer fans worldwide, is tempting cybercriminals.

"Traditionally, any large-scale generous event has shown an increase in all kinds of cyberthreats," said Wood.

"Phishing attacks increased by 66 percent during the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

"The fact that two underwater communications cables landed on South African coast last July will exacerbate the threat levels; history also shows that malicious activity increases in a country after new bandwidth is made available."

Symantec has already installed additional network sensors in South Africa and other southern Africa countries to check traffic and feed details to customers who are looking to take steps to secure their networks against additional threats.

"For example, two of our configured partners in Africa have submitted unique malevolent files that have not been seen elsewhere by Symantec," said Wood.

Much of the threat activity will not be new to the world of cybercrime - so-called 419 scams, spam and phishing attacks will face users in the guise of special offers for the event.

Gordon Love, Africa regional director, Symantec, said will advise people on how they can protect themselves against such attacks and will stay the alert for new varieties of scam.

However, scammers are always finding new ways of duping people into disclosing their personal information. Being well informed and alert is as important as keeping up to date with the latest protection software updates.

"The rule is, if something looks too good to be true, then it's likely to be a scam," said Love.

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