The Rio Olympics 2016 are just around the corner. As we see with every major event, scammers are hitting the internet trying to take advantage of unsuspecting users.
Want to enjoy the Olympics online without being attacked? Want to watch beach volleyball match streams without losing access to all your online banking data? Here are 5 tips to help you stay protected throughout the Rio Olympics.
5) You Can’t Get Free Olympics Tickets Online
If you have a hookup in Brazil, or work for a Brazilian company, then you may be able to get complementary tickets to various Rio Olympics events.
Unfortunately for you, no random website is going to offer you free tickets just because you filled out a survey or clicked on a button. It’s not going to happen – so don’t delude yourself into thinking it’s possible.
We’ve seen all sorts of scams pop up online – including promising free flights and hotel packages just for filling out online surveys.
When something is too good to be true online, it usually is fake. Your information could be stolen, you could download ransomware onto your computer, or you could lose access to all your accounts. Be smarter.
4) Brazilian Hackers Love Targeting Banks
Banks are always a target for hackers. Due to, you know, money.
But in Brazil, banks are particularly popular targets. The country is notorious for online banking fraud. One reason why Brazilians love to commit banking fraud is because local laws there are not strong enough to fight cybercrime – they’re just not built to handle the realities of 2016.
In any case, Trend Micro reports that online criminals in Rio “exhibit a blatant disregard for the law” and will use any means necessary to try to steal your banking information.
In a follow-up statement, Trend Micro’s vice president of cybersecurity, Ed Cabrera, said the following,
“They will abuse social media and talk about their criminal enterprise, without fear of prosecution.”
One of the fastest growing areas of Brazilian cybercrime is the development of Trojans designed to steal your banking data. These Trojans appear to be legitimate software programs offered by your bank – but are actually just used to steal your banking information.
Fortunately, most of the cybercriminals so far are targeting local Brazilian users who use domestic banks. So far, tourists have avoided most of these scams.
Nevertheless, keep an eye out for ATM skimmers and any suspicious-looking point-of-sale machines if you’re actually in Rio (or anywhere in the world, for that matter).
3) Avoid Public Wi-Fi
When the Olympics come to town, thieves know there are going to be a large number of unsuspecting people walking around public places.
This leads to a surge in pickpockets and other petty crime. But it also presents an easy target for cybercriminals to setup malicious public Wi-Fi networks.
Avoid connecting to suspiciously-named public Wi-Fi networks. You might see networks with names like “Free Rio Olympics Wi-Fi”. Instead of being free, unrestricted Wi-Fi, however, it’s a private network setup to lure in tourists and steal all information sent over that connection.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi unless you 100% know the source and legitimacy of that Wi-Fi network – like if you see it advertised on official Olympics 2016 materials around town.
2) Use HTTPS Everywhere
Even if you’re on a compromised Wi-Fi network, your data is only compromised if you’re entering it over a non-HTTPS connection. If you’re on Facebook, Twitter, or your banking website, your browser probably uses HTTPS by default. However, it’s always a good idea to double check.
Look in the address bar for HTTPS or consider using a browser extension like HTTPS Everywhere (available as an extension in all popular operating systems).
1) Watch your Stuff
Any time Brazilians visit the United States, they bring empty suitcases. Why? Well, due to local import tariffs and taxes, stuff made outside of Brazil is ridiculously expensive. A new iPhone costs $1,000 USD in Brazil, for example. So Brazilians fill up their empty suitcases with stuff they buy from US shops before returning home.
With that in mind, your latest Android, iPhone, tablet PC, or laptop is going to look like a wad of hundred dollar bills to Brazilian criminals. Take extra security cautions when walking around with your stuff in public – and remember that thieves will reach through car windows, bus windows, and hotel windows to grab your stuff.
Want an idea of how brazen thieves are in Brazil? Watch the video below:
You can see thieves – some of whom appear to be under the age of 10 – grabbing necklaces off necks in broad daylight or jumping into bus windows to grab an unsuspecting person’s phone.
Ultimately, the Rio Olympics 2016 are shaping up to be one of the shoddiest major events ever planned. Or, they could go off without a hitch. Whether you’re in Rio or at home, Olympics scams are becoming increasingly prevalent. Keep your head up and consider downloading PC software like Total System Care to protect yourself even further.