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Department of Homeland Security: It’s Olympic Time, Beware of Malware and Scams

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As you’re probably aware, the 2012 summer Olympics are just a few months away. Held in London starting on July 27, this event will draw attention from around the world. It will also be exploited by scammers and malware creators.

The DHS has issued a document warning of the many threats to the Olympics. While part of the document is about politically-motivated attempts to disrupt the games, one section deals with malware and scams. These high-profile events are very lucrative to scammers. The DHS says that “During the 2008 Beijing Olympics, one gang made approximately $3.5 million USD selling fake tickets online to unsuspecting victims.” These sales take place via bogus web sites, and potential victims are often recruited via spam. The DHS report also says that “Criminals have also begun distributing spam with malicious attachments,” so be very careful about any files you get in the coming months discussing this event.

Beyond spam, however, another threat is malicious web sites. Using SEO (search engine optimization) trickery, cyber-criminals will create web sites attempting to lure users who perform web searches, and feed them malware from these sites. “The most prevalent type of malware distributed through this type of attack is rogueware or fake antivirus, which tricks users into purchasing fake security software.” However, it is entirely possible that the Flashback malware could be served by such web sites.

So be careful in the coming months. If you want information about the Olympics, get it from the official London 2012 web site.