March Madness – Watch What You Click
As March Madness begins for NCAA basketball teams we can expect to see an increase in cybercrimes. The hype and popularity surrounding the basketball tournament make fans the prime targets for phishing scams, malware exploits, and other cyber-attacks. Cyber-attacks were up by 48% in 2014 – this year is expected to see 42.8 million attacks, roughly 117,339 each day.
Cybercriminals tend to use any major events that capture the attention of the American public as bait for cyber-attacks. During March Madness it is common to see an increase in email advertisements and coupons related to the basketball frenzy pop up in your email inbox but before clicking on anything make sure you know its source because cyber criminals often try to make their attacks blend in and seem real.
SEO poisoning poises a real threat during March Madness, and causes malware infected pages to show up at the top of search engines during online sessions which if clicked on can leave your computer infected. Some cybercriminals will also conceal malware in video players that offer to screen live games, or will bait you in to clicking on a link that is supposed to lead to a gaming steam but instead takes you to an infected website.
Cyber criminals use events like March Madness to find victims because they don’t have to do any work hunting them down. Be extremely cautious if you are wagering on brackets through various websites, during this time there is an increase in fake betting sites designed to steal users’ credit card information.
March Madness is a great time to be a sports fan but don’t let your love of the game compromise your common sense. Don’t open email attachments or click on unknown links, and only use trusted sites and apps to stream live game feeds.
And one more from tip from an IT professional to the average joe- don’t try to stream games during work hours at your desk. We IT folk can see traffic bulges, and know where they come from. Live streaming can cause slowdowns on corporate networks, or even worse if you fall victim to a cyber-attack.
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