Ready, Set, Scam: Top-5 Schemes Cybercriminals are Running Amid the Olympic Games

After an unprecedented year-long delay, the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics are set to start on July 23, 2021. This time, all the events will take place with no spectators, which reduces physical risks – in terms of health and from cybersecurity point of view (like such as data theft using the vulnerabilities of public Wi-Fi at the stadium). However, sport enthusiasts should not forget that cybercriminals will aim to take advantage of fans’ eagerness to watch the Olympic Games by instigating various online fraud schemes.
To get a better overview of how scammers are trying to monetize viewers’ interest, Kaspersky experts analyzed Olympic-related phishing websites designed to steal users’ credentials. As a result, Kaspersky researchers found fake pages offering to stream various Olympic events, selling tickets for competitions that won’t have spectators, various giveaways and even the first fake Olympic Games virtual currency.

  • Live Streams
    Unsurprisingly, with more spectators moving from stadiums to online, Kaspersky experts found various phishing pages offering to stream the Olympic Games. Some of them ask for people to register before watching. Usually in such phishing pages, once a user enters their credentials, they might be redirected to a page that distributes different malicious files. Besides having malware installed on their device through such files, users sent their identifying information to untrustworthy hands. After that, scammers may start using such data for bad purposes or sell it in the Dark Web.
Example of phishing pages offering to stream the Olympics

Example of phishing pages offering to stream the Olympics

  • Fake Tickets
    Despite there being no events held with spectators in person this year, fraudsters are not shying away from trying well-tested (yet, somehow still effective) fraud attempts, like selling offline event tickets. Kaspersky experts also discovered pages offering refunds for already purchased tickets.
  • Olympic-Related Entities
    Analyzing discovered pages, Kaspersky experts also found examples of phishing pages disguised as official Olympic ones such as a page pretending to be an official website for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and a page mimicking International Olympic Committee. The last one, for instance, collects users’ MS Services credentials.
  • Gifts
    No big public event is complete without fraudsters imitating extremely generous giveaways. Thus, Kaspersky experts also found phishing pages offering to win a TV, ideal to watch the Olympic Games on. This is quite popular and, usually, each user becomes a lucky winner; with the chosen ones only needs to pay for delivery fee. No need to say, the TV never gets to the deceived user.
  • Olympic Games Token
    Finally, and most importantly, Kaspersky researchers found the first ever virtual currency, which is a support fund for Olympic athletes. A fake one. If a user buys the token, the scammers offer to support financially talented sportsmen around the world who are in need.

“Cybercriminals always use popular sports events as bait for their attacks. This year, the Olympics will be held without spectators – thus, we do not expect a big number of related attacks. Still, we observe that fraudsters have no limit when it comes to creating new ways to take advantage. For example, this year, we discovered an interesting phishing page selling Olympic Games Official Token. There is no real equivalent of such thing, that means that cybercriminals are not only faking already existing baits but also come up with their own new sophisticated ideas”, comments Olga Svistiunova, security expert at Kaspersky.

To protect yourself and your close ones from the Olympics-related phishing Kaspersky experts recommend:

  • Сheck the link before clicking. Hover over it to preview the URL, and look for misspelling or other irregularities.
  • Check the authenticity of websites before entering personal data and only use official webpages to watch the Olympic Games. Double-check URL formats and company name spellings.
  • Use a reliable security solution, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites.

27 July 2021

Author: Terry KS

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