Olympic ticket scams just the start, says researcher

Two bogus sites shut down, but more expected this month

Scammers have duped hundreds of people out of thousands of dollars each using bogus Olympic ticket-selling sites, and a security expert warned that more will follow.

At least two Web sites -- www.beijing-tickets2008.com and www.beijingticketing.com -- have been shut down in recent weeks after the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC) filed restraining orders with US federal courts, the Los Angeles Times, among other newspapers, said over the weekend. The Reuters news service followed with a story of its own.

The www.beijingticketing.com site was up and running earlier on Monday, but by 2pm US EDT, it was offline.

According to Reuters and the Los Angeles Times, hundreds of users were duped into handing over their credit card numbers and passport information as they paid for non-existent tickets to events at the Beijing Olympics, which opens Friday and runs most of the month.

The sites were particularly convincing, sporting professional designs and liberal use of Olympic logos. "Users had to be scratching their heads over these," said Paul Ferguson, an advanced threat researcher at security vendor Trend Micro, who examined one of the sites over the weekend. "There wasn't anything there that would have set off alarm bells."

On July 23, a federal court in Phoenix awarded the IOC and USOC a restraining order against www.beijing-tickets2008.com, forcing it to shut down. The two organizations were planning to ask a federal district court judge in San Francisco for an order to close www.beijingticketing.com today.

Ferguson wasn't surprised by the ticket scam. "It's not unanticipated," he said. "Every time there's a major news event, like the Olympics, it's almost guaranteed that sites like these will appear."

And he expects to see more of the same before Beijing bids good-bye to the world's athletes. "It wouldn't surprise me to see that any big news that comes out of the Olympics, say if Michael Phelps wins gold, is used by spammers for social engineering purposes to get people to click on embedded links," said Ferguson. "Or even if there's some civil unrest during the Games, like the attack this weekend in western China.

"Some of these guys are pretty savvy about knowing what news will get peoples' attention," Ferguson added.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Gregg Keizer

Computerworld

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?