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Cyber crime moves from sex to football

World Cup demonstrated that the bait of choice for cyber criminals may no longer be sex; major global events also open the door to scammers.

July 18, 2010 3:11 by

Emirates Business reports that now the FIFA World Cup is behind us, cyber sleuths have been analyzing online criminal activity to see what effect, if any, the tournament had.

And apparently, according to Kevin Hogan, senior director, development at Symantec, 2010 has confirmed a shift over the past three years from criminals using sex as a lure to entrap unwary online users to a focus on news related to major global events.

“What we’re seeing are variations of the age-old social engineering scams,” he said. “Where cybercriminals once used people’s interest in sex to trick them into opening spam e-mails or clicking on malware infected sites, today the trend is to exploit our fascination with celebrities, global news and sports.”

Symantec’s July “State of Spam and Phishing” report reveals that the volume of messages with World Cup keywords in the subject line is more than nine times higher during this tournament compared to Germany 2006, says Emirates Business.

“We’ve also seen a marked spike in the number of World Cup-related 419 or advance fee frauds where users are informed they have won a sum of money in a lottery and tricked into paying an advance fee or deposit to claim their prize,” said Hogan. “The latter are generally quick, ‘take your money and scarper’ scams and, therefore, it is difficult to track down the criminals. While it’s virtually impossible to estimate the profits made in these simple scams, the fact that they continue to proliferate leads one to assume they must be extremely lucrative.”

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