The World Cup is still four months away, but attackers already are ramping up their efforts to defraud fans. As with most major events, such as the Super Bowl, the Olympics and others, attackers are using fans’ enthusiasm for the event as a lure to separate them from their money.

When a major event like the World Cup is on the calendar, scammers typically will register rafts of domain names with some reference to the event and use them to attract victims for a variety of scams. The most recent evidence of this trend is a bunch of scams targeting Brazilian soccer fans looking for tickets for the World Cup, which will be held in Brazil this summer. Researchers at Kaspersky Lab have been tracking these schemes and identified a number of fraudulent domains attackers are using to entice victims to cough up their personal data and some money in exchange for cheap or free tickets, which of course don’t exist.

“The attacks start when a user does a simple search on Google, looking for websites selling World Cup tickets. Bad guys registered the fraudulent domain fifabr.com that is displayed among the first results as a sponsored link,” Fabio Assolini, a Kaspersky Lab researcher in Brazil wrote in an analysis of some recent attacks he’s tracking.

“Kaspersky products are blocking several fraudulent domains daily; all of them are using the theme of the World Cup. Such attacks are focused totally on Brazilian users and the messages generally use the names of local credit card, banks, and big stores, etc. Phishing messages with fraudulent giveaways are getting common as well – some offering free tickets, cash, or even free travel.”

In order to get their non-existent free or discounted tickets, victims need to give up their personal information, such as name, address, birth date and credit-card data. Researchers have been seeing World Cup-themed attacks for nearly a year now, and the lures have been pretty consistent over time. Back in March 2013, Assolini was looking at some similar attacks that were phishing Brazilian soccer fans.

“Offers range from alleged cash prizes, trips and tickets to watch the games, while the attacks involve massive phishing mailings, and, to add spurious credibility, stars of the national soccer team have been ‘signed up’ by the conmen. Here’s one example featuring Neymar, the latest Brazilian hero to be dubbed the new Pelé,” Assolini wrote at the time.

As with most of these schemes that are pegged to a major sporting event, it’s always safer to buy tickets from the official site rather than any brokers or third parties.

Categories: Social Engineering, Web Security

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