The 2014 FIFA World Cup is about to come to a climax.
For the millions of die-hard football fans who cannot watch the games on television live, many will turn to the Internet to watch the action as the excitement of the tournament heightens.
Cybercriminals are seizing this opportunity to deceive fans online by broadcasting unsolicited advertisements of free live streamings of the event and fake World Cup related promotions.
This introduces serious security risks and productivity concerns to organisations as these are classic baiting techniques that often result in dangerous fraud, phishing and malware attacks.
These e-mail messages have a common theme of trying to lure users to provide their personal information in exchange for full access to live streaming videos or to claim prizes from a FIFA lottery.
For football fans who are looking for free online streaming of the games on their computers, laptops or mobile devices, they are presented with plenty of bogus sites on the Web.
Some of these sites will redirect to another URL requiring users to provide their credit card information for full access to live streaming, while others prompt users to download special video playback software or install "missing plugins" that will download malware onto their devices when they click the URL.
The current threat situation involves everyone. For football fans, we all have heard of this timeless admonition, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is". Although a cliche, it is still great wisdom to live by.
Fans are urged to always be vigilant and cautious when installing unknown applications, browser extensions, add-ons or plug-ins, particularly those from suspicious or anonymous sources. It's safest to stream the games through legitimate, reputable websites such as ESPN or BBC.
FIFA World Cup security threats
IT security leaders who are responsible for defining the company's security defence system must realise that the best protection against deceptive tactics is to be proactive.
Dell Software recommends that football fans counter threats with persistent and adaptive security. They can do this by layering their defence system that will provide them with many ways of preventing attacks and managing network bandwidth.
1. As most network infections begin with a compromised user device such as handphones, tablets and PCs, it has to be protected with content filtering capability, which will block inappropriate, illegal and dangerous web content.
2. Comprehensive gateway threat detection services for inbound anti-spam, anti-phishing and anti-virus protection.
3. Breaking the malware cycle by investing in an intrusion prevention system because it is easier to keep the bad guys out than to expel them.
4. Adding SSL inspection and application control to detect and prevent today's tactics or compromised web applications from sneaking malware into the network.
5. And finally, ensuring that there is a 24/7, 365 threat response and counter-intelligence service for the firewalls and intrusion prevention systems so it can quickly receive the latest countermeasures to combat new vulnerabilities as they emerge.
Ang Chye Hin is Dell Security regional sales director for South Asia.