Cybercriminals targeting sporting events and music festivals

BitDefender identified a series of scams targeting music festival goers, sporting event fans and holidaymakers this summer.

The top summer-themed spam messages for 2011 relate to holiday booking and ticket confirmation. BitDefender’s Online Threats Lab also forecasts a rise in event ticketing scams through rogue websites offering counterfeit tickets.

At a time when it is relatively easy to fall for seasonally-themed spam or rogue websites, the top summer 2011 spam baits include: “Plan a vacation in sunny Virginia Beach”, “69 euro x settimana in Turchia, Spagna, Sardegna, Sicilia!”, “Confirm your ticket” or “Order payment verification”.

If the victim has recently ordered tickets or been researching holiday options, the dangers are twofold. Firstly, malicious e-mail attachments expose the user to worms and Trojans. Secondly, links are included pointing to websites designed to capture financial data.

In the past month, BitDefender has also been monitoring the rise of a summer vishing scam. Typically, the potential victim will receive a telephone call on behalf of a fake travel agency offering the chance to win a holiday to Disneyland.

Once hooked, the victim is asked to log onto a website and complete a form in order to be in with a chance of winning. In reality, the prize is not a luxury visit to a theme park but the theft of credit card data for fraud.

Here’s some advice on how to stay safe this summer:

  • Use a reputable website that you were familiar with before the event
  • Research the ticketing website you are using and see what others are saying about it
  • Contact customer services and ask questions such as venue location or seat details
  • Keep up to date with the latest spam and security threats and ensure your computer is protected with up to date internet security software.

“In addition to scams resurfacing under new guises, we anticipate a whole new variety to appear this summer. The recipe for a holiday scam is simple – take a few pictures of a tropical island, add some appealing prices, a popular destination and the malicious trap is set.” said Catalin Cosoi, Head of the BitDefender Online Threat Labs. “Others are fooled by rogue ticketing websites, a proportion of which look almost identical to legitimate sites. Over the last two years, people have lost millions of pounds to such scams in exchange for fake tickets, hotel vouchers or the promise of a luxury holiday abroad.”

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