Cybercrime and the Olympics

September 12, 2012

It can be exciting when the Summer Olympics come around every four years. It is especially exciting for cybercriminals because it causes a flurry of activity on the Internet. There are few that are not even a little curious about the opening ceremonies or keeping a tally of the medal count for their home countries. ThreatMetrix, a security firm estimates the number looking for Olympic information on their computers or smartphones at about a billion worldwide.

Just like with other major events, such as elections, identity thieves look to exploit the online interest by setting up bogus websites that appear similar to the official ones. When you navigate your browser to these sites, you can get malware installed on your computer that can later be used to steal your personal information. It can be tough to tell the difference between the legitimate and fake sites at times, so you need to be careful. You also need to be selective about which applications you download onto your phone or tablet PC.

The safest bet? Stick with official sites, such as or the sites of news organizations that you know to be legitimate. Same goes for apps. Go with official ones that are authorized by major companies instead of unknown ones, especially ones that appear to be cheaper than they should be for what they offer.

Another good idea is to sign up for an identity theft protection plan. Sometimes you can have malware or spyware on your computer for months without even knowing it. Oftentimes the only reason people realize that it’s there is because their computers start working really slowly because of everything that’s going on behind the scenes.

An identity theft protection plan works behind the scenes too – but in a positive way. It works below the radar to outsmart the criminals who try to take your information and do illegal things with it. You’ll be notified of any strange goings-on so that you can prevent bad things from happening. And that reminds me; make sure that your anti-virus software is always up to date.