Cybersecurity firm Avast has identified a spike in the number of dangerous websites trying to gather user data ahead of the upcoming Champions League final, and has issued a warning to all football fans and Internet users in general to exercise a cautious approach.
Match days, particularly around kick-off time, and the Champions League final are all being highlighted as key times when attackers are expected to target vulnerable users.
Avast Malware Analysis Lead, David Jursa, said: “As we know, cybercriminals capitalize on human emotions – and the desire of fans to watch their team play in the Champions League is a strong one.”
Champions League cyberattacks
Capitalizing on fans’ willingness to trawl the Internet for free and often dodgy streaming platforms to watch their chosen game, attackers will use any combination of popups, phishing sites, malvertising, and other scams to get hold of personal data.
While the most sensible solution would be to legally and legitimately stream games or turn to live TV, Avast has shared information about some of the most common hacks to help users protect their sensitive information.
One such hack is the requirement to download streaming software to watch the match, which turns out to be malware designed to infect a host computer. They may also ask for information such as email addresses, phone numbers, and even card details.
Spanish football fans are said to be most at risk, with a 154% increase in attacks observed compared with France at 93% and Italy at 67%. The UK and Germany round up the top five, at 39% and 35% respectively.
While huge global hits like the Champions League are catalysts for cybercrime, such attacks are not isolated. Beyond other sporting events, ruthless cyberattackers will capitalize on any event they see fit.
With millions of loyal Apple fans also expected to tune in to its WWDC event next week to take their first look at the company’s new operating systems, yet another high-risk environment presents itself as Internet users are being urged to remain vigilant.