Top 5 online risks surrounding the World Cup

Online hazards are aplenty leading during the lead-up to the biggest sporting event of the year, the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

With the 2010 FIFA World Cup set to kick off at the start of June, anti-spyware company Lavasoft has compiled a list of the top online traps to look out for.

Spam with malicious attachments

A major sporting spectacle such as the World Cup is sure trigger a flood of e-mails that claim to have World Cup content attached. Malicious content is often contained in these unsolicited messages — read our extensive guide to fighting spam frustration, make sure all your security and e-mail software is updated and regularly check your spam filter settings.

Targeted phishing ploys

Phishing attempts, whereby a scammer sends out e-mail messages disguised to look as if they come from legitimate companies, could potentially escalate within the next month and a half — for refunds, tickets sales, accommodation, travel and team merchandise. The simple key here is to be smart and know when you receive an e-mail like this is that it is not legitimate. If you receive an e-mail asking you to log in and check an account — PayPal for example — then go directly to the Web site; don't click on links in the e-mail. Be wary of opening attachments.

SEO poisoning

Search engines are also a likely target during a period where it is obvious what the number one search item will be. SEO poisoning means that content with high rankings in search engines, including pages ostensibly dedicated to videos and reviews related to the World Cup, may be fake and infected. Making sure a link is legitimate, for example by installing security software that has a linkscanning feature, can go a long way to avoiding this problem.

Application downloads

Seeing as SBS plans to broadcast all games during the World Cup live on its two channels, this hopefully will not be too much of a problem for Australians. However, there will be those of us who are away from a television and desperate to watch the games online. There are many ways to infect users looking to download media players and other applications, so make sure you're downloading from a reputable file repository, such as PC World's download centre. It can't be stressed enough: scan all downloaded files with an up-to-date anti-virus application.

Legitimate sites serving malware

It's times like these where hackers love to step up and take down major Web sites from around the globe. Sometimes hackers use the networks that serve ads to deliver malware, for example. Make sure your browser, plug-ins and security software are updated. The NoScript plug-in for Firefox, for example, can help you stay safe by stopping JavaScript, Java and Flash being executed by sites you haven't whitelisted.

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Tags internet securitymalwarephishingspywarevirus and spyware preventionFIFA World Cup South AfricaFIFA World Cup 2010

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Omar Dabbagh

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