British public unaware of cyber sporting scams

Watching this summer’s sporting escapades is something most of us will relish, but are we taking the right precautions to protect our electronic devices from the unwanted attention that accompanies such high-profile events?

A McAfee survey revealed that only 13% of the British public are worried about a cyber threat spoiling their enjoyment of the summer’s sporting events.

Many were not aware of the risks and threats associated with such high-profile sporting events and the impact this could have on them, their devices and personal data.

The National Security Strategy has stated that cyber attacks pose a threat to national infrastructure systems and the protection of state secrets. The organization has warned that sporting events being hosted across the UK and Europe this summer present a honey pot of opportunity to those intent on taking advantage of innocent spectators.

Jonathan Evans, head of MI5, speaking at the Lord Mayor’s Annual Defence and Security Lecture recently said security preparations to protect business and individuals over the summer of sports were well under way, but has admitted that an “astonishing” level of cyber attacks from enemy states and criminals is threatening the UK.

McAfee has already monitored and stopped a number of scams relating to ticket sales, events and sporting-themed lotteries, which further highlights the need for increased consumer awareness around the threats that exist.

Of those aware of the risks, many were taking precautions to protect themselves against the online threats during sporting events:

  • 65% will be will be adding a PIN code to their smartphone device
  • 61% will be switching off the Bluetooth on their smartphones before attending any sporting events this summer
  • 32% are planning to install security software onto their device.

“There are some very simple steps that everyone can take to protect themselves and their devices from cyber sporting scams this summer,” said Raj Samani, CTO EMEA at McAfee. “Firstly, think twice before jumping on a public Wi-Fi connection – they’re hotbeds for data theft and scamming. Secondly, turn off file-sharing when you are on the move to prevent hackers from stealing sensitive data from your mobile device. Thirdly, turn off geo-tagging on your mobile device before posting photos on sites like Facebook so your location information won’t fall into the wrong hands.

“Finally, if it looks too good to be true, it normally is. Be wary of phony websites, emails, texts and pop-ads offering deals on tickets to sporting events.”

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