Cybercrooks on the prowl this World Cup

Last Updated: Feb 20, 2011, 11:45 AM IST

New Delhi: Cricket fever has hit not only the crazy fans world over but also the cybercrooks, who will try to swell their own bank accounts by tricking innocent internet users to fall prey to cyber attacks, say experts.

Cricket World Cup is one of the most viewed sports after FIFA World Cup and Olympics and cyberscammers will try to dupe online users through offers like free match tickets, free online live coverage and holiday packages, they say.

"Global sporting events generate eagerness and enthusiasm not only among sports fans but also the bad boys of cyberspace. With the cricket World cup round the corner, scammers will try to trick as many online users as possible," says Vinoo Thomas, Technical Product Manager, McAfee Labs.

"India is a cricket crazy nation. People who cannot see the full match due to work, often try to check score online. Since number of online users goes up during World Cup, it also increases chances of cyber attacks like spam and phishing. Cybercrooks play on human curiosity," he adds.

Reports say there is a spam email campaign already doing the rounds, which is preying to exploit gullible Internet users by offering an exclusive World Cup hospitability package that also includes tickets for the final to be held in Mumbai.

International Cricket Council has already taken a note of such fraudulent emails and winning notifications that ask personal details from online users.

In a statement issued earlier, the ICC said, "We wish to place on record that neither we conduct nor authorise any such sweepstakes or prize promotions, nor do we appoint any third parties to do so."

According to a recent report by online market research company Juxtconsult, there are around 49 million internet users in India out of which 25 million browse the internet every day.

The number of people using Internet daily is expected to go up, keeping in mind the amount of interest cricket World Cup generates in India.

"An anonymous email may ask about your financial details - usually your credit card number, in return of
sending you a free match ticket. Needless to say, the information you provide will end up with a scammer who can empty your credit card or bank account in just about no time," says Pavan Duggal, a cyberlaws expert.

Avid cricket fans who miss out an exciting match often search for decent options for live online streaming videos for the Cricket World Cup.

"There are plenty of illegal and scrupulous providers who will try to milk this flood of searches for all its worth. One needs to careful of sites that ask users to install a video codec in order to get access to P2P-based live streaming cricket. Some video codecs could be Trojan horse programs in disguise that infect computers with rogue security software," says Thomas.

Most of such websites disappear within four to five days. Online threat protection company AVG Technologies estimates that around 8 to 14 million unique users worldwide are exposed to social engineering scams.

Best way to avoid such things is to stay away from anonymous emails that promise `unbelievable` offers and never divulge personal and banking information on the Internet.

"One should buy match tickets and travel packages from legal and well known sources. And do not forget to check that a website is protected by SSL certificates while making transactions on line," says Thomas.

PTI