With the 2016 Olympic Games opening on August 5, hundreds of thousands of tourists will soon be traveling to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Although major international events like the Summer Olympics boost tourism and economic transactions, they also present lucrative opportunities for cybercriminals.
Rio visitors and Olympic travelers alike have been targeted by cybercriminals with counterfeit tickets and fraudulent travel packages, which often result in the theft of important personal information and financial data.
Furthermore, Brazil just so happens to be the second-largest cybercrime generator in the world, ranking No. 1 in Latin America as both a source and target of online attacks, reports Dark Reading.
According to Limor Kessem, executive security advisor at IBM Security, cybercriminals’ increasingly creative tactics range from registering fake websites and offering free bogus giveaways to selling counterfeit tickets to trick users into providing their personal details online.
Kessem added there is also an underground market for SSL certificates, which enable a secure connection between a server and a web browser to make the sites look legitimate.
“Criminals also use aggressive search engine optimization strategies to ensure high traffic on their sites, and some even carry advertising,” Kessem told The Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, Tim Erlin, senior director of IT security and risk strategist for Tripwire, notes there’s a measurable increase in the propensity to click when the subject is of strong interest to consumers:
“It’s a kind of ‘clickformation’ bias that drives one to hit that button. If it seems too good to be true, don’t click. Erring on the side of caution can go a long way in protecting yourself.”
With a major spike in cybercrime activity expected during the event, security experts recommend the following security tips for 2016 Olympic travelers:
Be physically aware of your laptop and mobile devices at all times.
Visible devices can make you a target for physical and virtual crime. If you don’t need these devices, don’t take them. If you must take your devices, keep them out of sight. Smart phones and laptops are frequent targets of grab and go theft.
Ensure your computer has whole disk encryption.
Securely encrypted data is safe, even if stolen. In order to maximize encryption protection, use ‘Hibernate’ or ‘Shut Down’ modes with your laptop. Sleep mode does not invoke encryption protection.
Have your screensaver set to auto lock based on inactivity.
Five minutes is the maximum time before auto lock kicks in. It’s also a good idea to require a password to unlock your computer and always lock your computer before you step away.
Do not use pubic Wi-Fi.
You can set up or purchase a private hot spot or use a virtual private network (VPN). VPN provides you with an encrypted channel and enhances privacy protection.
Don’t accept promotional USB sticks.
Most security savvy companies have stopped handing out USB sticks, as they can easily be infected with malware. Putting an unknown USB stick into your device is simply asking for trouble.
Use a laptop privacy filter on your screen.
Shoulder surfing can lead to information loss. Make sure that casual observers can’t take advantage with information they see flashing across your screen.
“With almost half a million people forecasted to travel to Rio, your physical and cyber safety should be high on your packing list,” said Mandy Huth, director of cyber security for Belden, Tripwire’s parent company.
“If you are heading to Rio, take a few minutes to review your security hygiene. Good cyber security will help you avoid potential cyber attacks and scams when you see your favorite events,” added Huth.
For more tips on staying secure while traveling internationally, please click here.