The big game is almost here, and yes – it is in Atlanta! Whether you’re going to the game or staying home – there are some cyber security concerns you should be aware of before you settle in for kickoff.
Cyber criminals are prone to look for susceptible audiences, which like around the holidays, take advantage of chaos, desperation and volume to find a victim. The Super Bowl has all these elements, and there are numerous cyber risks to be aware of leading up to, during and shortly after the big game. Here are a few tips and things to be aware of to make sure you have a cyber safe Super Bowl.
- Pre-game – Ticket Scams The biggest risk is counterfeit tickets. If you are going to try to buy last-minute, too-good-to-be-true tickets from an online seller, Ticketmaster has a few tips:
- Buy from an official source and be wary of “official sounding sources”.
- If you do buy from a third party site, beware of too-good-to-be-true deals. And don’t pay with cashier’s check, cash, money wires…or Bitcoin. Use a method that is traceable.
- Make sure the URL of the site you are buying from is not a look-alike or spoofed. Definitely be sure it is an encrypted secure (https://) site.
- Phishing – An email not to click: “Tell us who you think will win the Super Bowl and get a free gift card”. Be very wary of unsolicited contest emails using the Super Bowl in the subject or as an incentive (it’s generally illegal). If it does come from a trusted source, look at the domain at least three times. And make sure you know how to spot a phishing email.
- Software Updates – Make sure you’ve updated your mobile devices to the latest version of software. Outdated software is a leading entry point for criminals.
- Game time – WiFi Who goes to the game thinking they’re going to contract a virus? Luckily there are really good cyber security teams at the game monitoring all systems to catch things for you. You are at a Super Bowl, put down your phone! If you really want to be safe, stay off free WiFi. Otherwise be very aware of the network you are connecting to. It is common for scammers to create a WiFi network that looks very similar to the one you think you are connecting to. And you’re not only vulnerable to this threat at the big game itself, but also at your local sports bar or other venues, where free WiFi may be easily hacked or left unsecure. Streaming While TV viewership has remained pretty flat over the past decade, streaming is increasing. It’s not too far-fetched to predict that a record number of people will livestream the Super Bowl this year, but many may also be streaming illegally. Illegal streaming sites are notorious for all kinds of threats. Malicious links, phishing, exploits, ransomware…it’s all there, and only one innocent link-click or “free streaming software download” away.
- Post-Game – Show Check If You’ve Been Hacked You might not know it, but you might have an exploit lying on your phone or home computer. If you are using all the right technology, you are probably ok. But if you’ve been browsing odd sites trying to get more info on the special event (or replay any of the inevitable puppy-kitty-baby themed Super Bowl commercials), at least consider running a periodic scan shortly thereafter. With That in Mind A lot of really good people, government entities and companies are working to keep you and your devices safe this Super Bowl. If you’re cautious about where you connect and what you connect to, you can manage a lot of risk, but human error can always let you down. Simply being aware of these concerns can be enough to ensure you won’t fall victim to scams or threats related to this year’s big game.
- Key things to remember: • Keep your devices up to date • Watch out for public WiFi • Don’t open that unidentified email • Be sure to run regular scans • If it seems too good to be true, it probably is (excluding 4th quarter comebacks) • May the best team win (or the team you are cheering for!).