Computer security firms have warned businesses and consumers to be wary of Olympic email and internet scams over the next three weeks as the world's attention turns to the 2008 Beijing Games. Hundreds of would-be Games attendees were caught by a sophisticated online Olympics ticketing scam and anti-virus software makers Symantec and McAfee cautioned that many more schemes were afoot.
Symantec's director of global services, Richard Archdeacon, said hackers and spammers were likely to see the Games as one of the biggest opportunities for internet fraud this year. "The Beijing Olympics is gearing up to be one of the biggest events of the year and hackers and spammers will see it as a massive opportunity to compromise the unwary," Mr Archdeacon said.
Yesterday sports fans in the United States, Britain, Canada and Australia were reeling after it was discovered they had bought tickets from a fraudulent ticketing website.
Symantec said it wasn't the only ticketing scam that had been uncovered. One involved emails purporting to be from the Beijing Olympic Committee announcing the winners of an Olympic ticket lottery.
The scam email asked the "winners" to send an email to claim their prize; by responding, recipients risked online attacks.
McAfee's marketing director for the Asia-Pacific, Allan Bell, also recently came across a fraudulent Beijing Olympics website. He said such websites or "phishing" sites were part of a global fraud network worth millions of dollars annually.
"These phishing and scam websites are a core part of the attacks used by cyber criminals," Mr Bell said.
Symantec released a checklist for people taking their computers to the Olympics. It said owners should not leave laptops in the open or even in a hotel room, should ensure all software was up to date and should encrypt all data before travelling.
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