Threat actors are capitalizing on the attention surrouncing the 2018 FIFA World Cup, which attracts millions of viewers around the world.
Researchers at Check Point today published details on the so-called Wallchart phishing campaign, which aims to deliver malware under the guise of a World Cup-related message. Events like the World Cup as well as the Olympics lend themselves to cybercrime because attackers assume people are less vigilant about clicking emails and attachments from unknown senders.
This specific threat arrives as a spearphishing email with the subject line “World_Cup_2018_Schedule_and_Scoresheet_V1.86_CB-DL-Manager” and aims to trick victims with a malicious World Cup schedule and results checker. If downloaded, the attachment uses a malware variant called “DownloaderGuide,” which is often used to install potentially unwanted programs including toolbars, adware, and system optimizers, researchers report.
Wallchart isn’t the first campaign to target the 2018 World Cup and it certainly won’t be the last. Nearly three-quarters of surveyed security experts said an attack on the tournament was certain, and 44% expected email to be a primary target for threats related to the Cup.
It’s not only phishing attacks putting fans, athletes, and sporting venues at risk to get kicked by soccer-related cybercrime. The same day Check Point shared the details on Wallchart, the security team at IBM X-Force shared data on why events like the World Cup commonly attract cybercriminals and how people can stay safe while the games are going on.
The bigger the event, the greater the opportunity for a successful campaign. FIFA reports tickets for this year’s World Cup have already surpassed 1.6 million. That’s a lot of people who threat actors can target for their money and personal information, writes Camille Singleton, IBM X-Force IRIS global security intelligence analyst.
Financially motivated actors can exploit victims through online ticket sales or transactions conducted in nonsecure environments. Indeed, Kaspersky Lab researchers detected fraudulent Web pages promising fake giveaways and the option for fans to purchase “guest tickets” that were both overpriced and unlikely to work at the stadium given FIFA’s strict ticketing rules.
Nation-state cyberattackers may go a different route, instead seeking access to fans’ information and website that could be politically advantageous. Soccer fans traveling to the games in Russia are at greater risk for phishing emails, IBM reports, as cyberattackers aim to exploit habits like fans’ tendencies to promote their favorite team on social media.
Much of the advice for avoiding World Cup-related scams can be applied to everyday life. Singleton advises travelers to be highly suspicious of messages with links or attachments, avoid public WiFi networks, be wary of where they use credit cards online, update operating systems, and travel with a temporary “burner” phone to avoid compromising a personal device.
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Kelly Sheridan is the Staff Editor at Dark Reading, where she focuses on cybersecurity news and analysis. She is a business technology journalist who previously reported for InformationWeek, where she covered Microsoft, and Insurance & Technology, where she covered financial … View Full Bio