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F-Secure's Mikko Hypponen gives World Cup cybercriminals the red card

Online vigilance combined with patched and up-to-date computers can keep football fans safe from World Cup scams and malware attacks.

Helsinki, Finland – June 8, 2010: It’s not just football fans around the world who are interested in the FIFA World Cup, which is kicking off in South Africa on Friday 11 June. The huge global interest in the event also attracts cybercriminals who see it as a major opportunity to make money by selling fake tickets, attracting football fans to drive-by download websites (websites which download malware without the users’ knowledge), and carrying out phishing attacks camouflaged with a World Cup theme.

Mikko Hypponen, Chief Research Officer at F-Secure, says, “I urge football fans everywhere to give cybercriminals the red card by refusing to be fooled by their dirty tricks. In addition to online vigilance against World Cup spam, scams and hoaxes, it’s also crucial to keep computers patched and up-to-date to avoid getting hit by drive-by downloads from dubious websites.”

World Cup tickets are hot property at the moment and desperate fans looking for last minute bargains make an ideal target group for online fraudsters. Unfortunately, many of the seemingly attractive ticket deals offered outside the official World Cup website www.fifa.com are bogus and fans end up losing their money.

A survey commissioned by F-Secure* conducted in Germany, Sweden and the UK asked how likely Internet users would be to click on a link promising information about cheap tickets for the World Cup. An average of 28% respondents in the three countries were tempted to some degree, with about 8% of respondents saying they would be very likely to click on the link.

With World Cup fever taking over the planet, hundreds of millions of people are also visiting all kinds of websites that purport to give the latest results and breaking news from the tournament. In anticipation of all this web traffic, cybercriminals have been setting up bogus websites designed to appear near the top of search engine results for the World Cup, ready to infect visitors. Spam email about star player scandals, sensational South Africa scoops and World Cup tickets are also certain to multiply as the tournament gets under way.

Football fans should also be on the look-out for phishing attacks disguised as competitions or surprise lottery wins that attempt to steal their credit card numbers, online banking details, personal passwords, and other confidential information.

Mikko Hypponen’s top tips for staying safe online during the World Cup:
- Don’t believe the spam – you have not won a lottery for free tickets for the World Cup final.
- Only buy online tickets and merchandise from www.fifa.com and authorised vendors. More information available on the FIFA website.
- Get your World Cup news from reputable websites.
- Use the free F-Secure Health Check (www.f-secure.com/healthcheck) and Online Scanner (http://ols.f-secure.com) to check if your computer is secure or get full protection with a free 30-day trial of F-Secure Internet Security 2010 (www.f-secure.com/is2010).

F-Secure’s free online Health Check and Online Scanner can pinpoint any security issues that need to be fixed so you can enjoy the World Cup to the full. Health Check lets you know if you are using the latest software versions, so criminals cannot exploit vulnerabilities in out-of-date programs. Online Scanner scans your computer for known malware. F-Secure is also offering a free 30-day trial of F-Secure Internet Security 2010 which provides comprehensive protection for your computer – perfect for the duration of the World Cup!

F-Secure – Protecting the irreplaceable
While you concentrate on what is important to you, we make sure you are protected and safe online whether you are using a computer or a smartphone. We also backup and enable you to share your important files. Our services are available through over 200 operators around the world and trusted in millions of homes and businesses. Founded in 1988, F-Secure is listed on NASDAQ OMX Helsinki Ltd.
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*The survey was conducted by Gfk as a CAWI survey (Computer Assisted Web Survey) among online panellists invited to participate in the survey by email. 1 505 interviews were conducted in the UK, 1 500 in Sweden and 1 509 in Germany in week 14 – week 15 (April), 2010.
For more information, please contact
Media contact
Hetta Huittinen
Tel. +358 40 033 9597
E-mail: firstname.lastname@f-secure.com