Trending cyberthreats at the Olympic Games

News Threats

As the Olympic Games in Rio draw nearer, cybercriminals are preparing more and more traps for sports fans. They make use of all kinds of tactics: phishing letters and fake sites, hacked Wi-Fi networks, card skimmers, and even fake ATMs. Criminals also clone credit cards and steal data with the help of USB charging ports in airports. In this post, we are going to speak about all of these threats.

Trending cyberthreats at the Olympic Games

Kaspersky Lab has thoroughly analyzed how things stand in Rio and on sites devoted to the Olympics. You can have a look at our findings in this post or read a detailed review on Securelist.

Phishing party

Criminals see global sport events as times of bountiful harvest, and the 2016 Olympic Games are no exception. Criminals created many fake sites to steal personal data from sports fans and International Olympic Committee (IOC) employees working in Brazil. For example, February some crooks made a copy of the IOC’s Intranet portal (in fact, we detected a series of such attacks).

Sports fans’ banking data is also considered fair game. Some credit card numbers were obtained by mail: E-mail messages tantalized with giveaways such as new cars and tickets to the Games. Users followed the links, entered their data, and helped criminals to clone their credit cards.

Expensive “cyberliteracy” tests

Stealing banking data is all well and good, but direct money transfers are even better for criminals. We posted earlier about criminals who made fake ticket sites — with promotions, sales, giveaways, and other goodies. We saw well-thought-out frauds as well: For example, some criminals offered direct (fake) ticket sales to the people of Brazil (when people living in the country can acquire them only through official lotteries).

Altogether we detected and added 230 domain addresses to our blacklist, sites that were registered by criminals for phishing, fraud, and theft during the Olympics.

Unfortunately, it’s already too late to purchase tickets to the Olympics through official channels. We do not recommend buying them through unofficial markets — you simply cannot know what you’ll be getting. Of course you can watch the Olympic Games on TV or online, but beware of malicious streaming websites. We have already detected and blacklisted domain addresses that targeted Olympic fans, and no doubt there will be more soon.

  • Be alert for fake websites, and always check the URLs carefully for “typos.”

USB-charging traps

Sometimes it seems mobile devices drain faster when we travel. It’s no wonder: We often take photos, turn on location services, use the Internet to get directions, chat, and post things on social networks. To help tourists, many cities invest in charging points, and you’ll find many such spots in airports, shopping malls, and taxis.

At the free charging spots, you can charge your phone using a cable that sticks out of a terminal or use a USB port. Some also provide a traditional power supply that you can use with your own charger. The latter is the safest option. Remember, if you connect your device to a hacked USB port, criminals can connect to your phone and download your personal data.

  • Always use your own charger and connect to traditional electrical outlets, not USB ports.

Dangerous Wi-Fi

Roaming is costly, so travelers often connect to free Wi-Fi. That’s a mistake: Criminals hack legitimate Wi-Fi networks or create their own to intercept and manipulate the content victims see in their browsers.

Hundreds of thousands of fans will flock to Brazil to see the Olympics — and many of them will need the Internet. We checked Wi-Fi networks in areas in Rio that are likely to attract tourists: the Brazilian Olympic Committee building, Olympic Park, and the stadiums (Maracanã, Maracanãzinho and Engenhão).

These areas have about 4,500 unique access points. They are mostly new, and they handle multimedia streaming particularly well. However, we discovered that 18% of them are insecure and openly configured, and 7% are poorly protected. The upshot is, about a quarter of Wi-Fi networks in the areas of the Olympic Games are vulnerable to hackers.

Skimmers, fake ATMs, and clones

Brazilians are familiar with skimmers — special equipment installed on ATMs to steal credit card data. Later, criminals use the data to clone victims’ cards and cash in.

This form of attack is so widespread in Brazil that it even got a local nickname — Chupacabra. Usually skimmers are installed at places where tourists gather — such as Rio International Airport. For example, in 2014 a gang installed 14 ATM skimmers there. Sometimes criminals even install fake ATMs on top of original ones.

Follow these recommendations when using ATMs:

  • Check to make sure the green light on the card reader is on. Skimmer usually have either no light at all or a light that is turned off.
  • Before starting a transaction, eyeball the ATM for suspicious elements such as missing or badly fixed parts.
  • Hide the number pad while keying in your password.

Skimmers and fake ATMs are not the only threat. A friendly waiter or merchant can also clone your card. Brazil has been fighting such fraud for a long time. Local banks were the first to adopt chip-based cards to protect customers from this type of attack by making it much harder to clone cards. However, criminals do still manage to extract some easy money from tourists.

To reduce the chances of having your card cloned:

  • Never give your card to retailers. If they cannot bring the machine to you, ask for permission to come to the terminal.
  • Before typing your PIN make sure you are on the correct payment screen and that your PIN is not going to be shown on the screen.
  • If a machine looks suspicious or you have any other misgivings, use cash. (It is always good to have some cash with you as a backup.)

For those who are going, we wish you a safe trip to Brazil! Subscribe to our blog to keep up with the latest security news. Alert today is alive tomorrow!