According to a senior director at internet security firm Symantec, 2010 has shown that criminals using sex to entrap users have moved onto major news-related events instead.
“What we’re seeing are variations of the age-old social engineering scams,” said Kevin Hogan. “Where cybercriminals once used people’s interest in sex to trick them into opening spam emails or clicking on malware infected sites, today the trend is to exploit our fascination with celebrities, global news and sports.”
Hogan says that the most prolific offenders are the email spammers, who jumped on the World Cup.
“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,” continued 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.”
Social networking sites such as Facebook are also seeing surges in malicious activity, especially during the recent World Cup.
“It’s unlikely, however, that malicious activity surrounding the event will die down for a while yet, so football fans are advised to continue to exercise caution online,” he warned.