Email Scammers Target Olympics Fans

Malware designers are using the Olympics to lure their victims.

As athletes train their bodies for the upcoming London 2012 Olympics, scammers are training their sights on potential victims. A new scam email is targeting users by promising a PDF copy of the Olympic schedule.

Although the email attachment does provide a schedule, it delivers a little more than users bargained for. When the file is opened, it displays a 2012 schedule but also opens a program the creates a backdoor, connecting the user’s computer to a website registered in Baotoushi, China. Luckily, the exploit only works with older versions of Adobe Reader, so users with up-to-date versions are not affected.

According the National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center report, “Strategic Outlook: 2012 Summer Olympic Games,” it is not uncommon for cyber crooks to use large events to trick victims into downloading bad files. Attacks using 2012 Olympics themes started within a couple months after the 2008 Olympics ended, and some groups are already designing attacks using the 2014 Olympics.

The report also warns against other tactics commonly used by online scammers. “Phishing and scams imitating official Olympic correspondence or offering tickets have already begun circulating in the wild,” the report states.

Protect Yourself Against Cybercrime

It’s always a good idea to be careful of what you download and what websites you visit, since you never know where a piece of software has been, but it’s a good idea to be extra vigilant around events like the Olympics.

A layered security approach and a little cyber vigilance provide a good defense against malware. In addition to keeping antivirus and other software updated, the cybersecurity report has three tips for keeping your computer safe. You can counter malware-laced images by viewing emails in plain text, and you should always check the source of an unsolicited email before opening attachments. It’s also a good idea to avoid clicking on embedded links in unsolicited emails

Scott Cornell

When he’s not knee deep in blogging and all things tech, Scott spends his free time playing ultimate Frisbee and watching foreign films. An expert in emerging tech trends, Scott always has his ear to ground for breaking news related to IT security.