Email inboxes are highly predictable. Any newsworthy event, whether a natural disaster, major sporting event, or even celebrity gossip inevitably invokes an email from an entrepreneurial individual with unscrupulous principles promising you something of value in exchange for personal information...
The rapid increase in Olympic-themed scams over the past couple of months has therefore come as no surprise - in fact, it has been entirely expected. McAfee Labs has monitored scams of all sorts since the start of the summer, from malicious text messages, to spam that's delivered through social media, as well as emails offering fake tickets, or lottery wins.
With the biggest sporting event of the year so far, the Olympics, taking place in our capital city, it's vital that the British public are keeping their wits about them to avoid falling prey to cyber crooks. However, with recent research conducted by OnePoll on behalf of McAfee revealing that just 13% of the UK population is concerned about cyber threats during the summer of sport, it appears that not everyone is entirely aware of the risks they could face...
Top Tips for Keeping Safe
According to the survey most Brits plan to protect their mobile devices by adding a PIN code to their smartphones, and switching off their Bluetooth. However, less than a third are planning to install security software onto their device, which is necessary for preventing possible malware infections. Many respondents also said that they did not intend to take their smartphone to the games, with 1 in 3 women deciding to leave their devices at home, whereas only 1 in 4 men say they would take that action.
Here are some additional tips to help you keep your mobile device safe from a malicious attack this summer:
1. Keep your wits about you! Be wary of phony websites, emails, texts and pop-ads offering 'too good to be true' deals on tickets to sporting events. Not falling for the promise of 100 metre final tickets at a ridiculously low price is the first step...
2. Back-up the data on your smartphone or laptop: Do this before you leave for a sporting event and consider deleting any personal information that you don't need.
3. Turn off the geo-tagging feature on your smartphone: Do this before posting photos on sites like Facebook to avoid your location information falling into the wrong hands.
4. Don't let your apps remember your user names and passwords: Also make sure you don't store credit card information or passwords on websites. If your smartphone or laptop is lost criminals can easily access these accounts.
5. Use "safe search" technology: Make sure you install software that alerts you to risky sites that you may receive via email, texts, or social networking sites. This will prevent you from going to a site that could download malicious software on your mobile device that could steal your identity and financial information.
It does seem a shame to be talking about scams during such a wonderful summer of sport, but by taking precautions everyone can remain focused on supporting their team in the Games. If leaving your device at home seems excessive, the above simple steps can keep spectators - and would-be spectators - safe from cyber criminals.
Follow Raj Samani on Twitter: www.twitter.com/Raj_Samani