Few events attract more online clicks, views, and downloads than the Olympics, but athletes aren’t the only ones getting ready for London. With the 2012 Summer Olympic Games just around the corner, cyber criminals and online scammers are sure to be on the prowl, hoping to take advantage of Internet users who let their guard down with offers of discounted tickets, free merchandise, exclusive videos, or breaking news.
Hackers frequently take advantage of large, highly-publicized events and popular news stories to get users to click on fraudulent links and unknowingly download malware or other viruses onto their computers, smart phones, tablets, and other wireless devices. Hackers often use search engine optimization tricks to ensure that malicious sites appear on a search result page for certain keywords, and use clever tricks to convince Internet users to give out their credit card and personal information.
To avoid these online scams, it's important to follow these cybersecurity practices:
- Update and run anti-virus and anti-spyware software regularly
- Use spam filters and firewalls
- Only download apps and software from reputable sources – if you can’t verify where it’s coming from, don’t download it
- Don't click on links promising deals that you weren't expecting, and scrutinize links carefully when searching for Olympic-related pages
- Don’t open emails from unknown individuals or organizations or that have attachments or links, and never click an embedded link in an unsolicited email
- Never provide your personal information or credit card numbers unless you can verify a site’s authenticity