Media Release

Watch World Cup securely; Sophos offers free anti-virus software

The excitement over World Cup 2018 is building up as the finals are getting nearer and nearer. Fans and new converts flock to social media to show support for their favorite teams and players.

But beware. Cybercriminals are on the lookout for possible victims and they use people’s hunger for the games to infect computers and network with malware and other viruses.

In its latest media alert, network security vendor Sophos reminds the public of previous cyber attacks using world games as platforms.

“During France 1998, the ZMK-J virus asked you to gamble on who would win. If you got the answer wrong, the malware triggered an exploit which was capable of wiping all the data off your hard drive. In South Korea 2002, Chick-F spread via email and instant messages, posing as a web utility which would bring up-to-the-minute results from Korea and Japan.

“In Germany 2006, German malware Zasran-D infected users with a backdoor (remote access) virus under the pretense of free tickets, while South Africa 2010 saw a Frankfurt man successfully blackmail three online betting sites (and attempting to extort money from three others) by threatening them with distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks which could have blasted them off the internet. In Brazil 2014, we saw websites associated with the World Cup struck by a DDoS attack ahead of the tournament’s opening match.”

Unofficial live streaming websites are sure to cash in from avid football fans who do not — or cannot — pay for premium cable services. While World Cup only offers highlights of some games on YouTube and other video-hosting sites, the more enterprising criminals have found ways to stream the games and spread a virus into people’s computers.

Sites offering free live streaming would lead users from one website to another and another without knowing that a malware or ransomware has already been deployed to their networks. For some computers equipped with firewalls and effective anti-virus software, this would be easily detected. But if computers, or even routers, do not have any kind of protection from viruses, cybercriminals are sure to have a field day.

On May 23rd this year, the Security Service of Ukraine issued a cyber attack warning that the VPNFilter malware infecting internet routers and other devices was a preparation of a cyber-attack aimed at impacting the Champions League final held that weekend in Ukraine.

To help World Cup fans who can’t get enough of the games, Sophos is offering its free software tools to protect networks and computers while enjoying the games. These are easy-to-install tools that anyone can set up and use.

It is so easy to fall for anything that would satisfy one’s curiosity about the games. However, anything that is too good to be true is always worth scrutinizing first.


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