Microsoft: World Cup 2014 could be used as bait for cyber threats

Microsoft has released its annual list of possible cyber threats that the world might have to deal with in the next year, and one of them centers on the 2014 World Cup. The massive soccer tournament that's being held in Brazil in June and July could be used by criminals as bait to lure people into downloading malware or used in other illegal online ventures.

In a post on the Microsoft Security blog, Tim Rains, the company's director of Trustworthy Computing, states:

Given ticket sales for the event started long ago, I’m sure attackers have already been trying to identify ways to swindle money. But I expect to see an uptick in current levels of spam and phishing attacks that use the World Cup context as bait. Attackers use spam and phishing sites to try to steal recipients’ personal information (for purposes of identity theft and bank fraud), as well as infect their systems with malware (for many purposes like click fraud, spam campaigns, botnets, etc.).

Microsoft predicts that interruptions for large online cloud services will continue to persist in 2014, along with efforts by cyber criminals to send out malware that attacks unsupported software, including Windows XP when Microsoft ends its support in April. Microsoft also thinks that "ransomware" incidents will rise in 2014, in which a virus not only infects and restricts access to a user's PC but also sends a message demanding that money be sent to the creator of the program to free up the computer.

Rains says that PC users can still protect themselves from most cyber attacks by "keeping all software up-to-date, running anti-malware software from a trusted source, and demanding software has been developed using a security development lifecycle."

Source: Microsoft | Image via FIFA

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