The Olympics is a magnet for malware makers

The Olympics is a magnet for malware makers

The Olympics, not surprisingly, has caused a massive increase the amount of malicious apps online. 

According to a cybersecurity company Proofpoint, the amount of malware and social media scams has increased dramatically in the past few weeks.

Proofpoint says it analysed more than 1,300 Olympics-related social media accounts and thousands of mobile apps across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google+, YouTube, and various app stores.

Its key findings were:

  • 15 per cent of Olympics-related accounts were fraudulent, and 84 per cent of those were impostor accounts. Many featured illegal live-streaming, phishing, unauthorized ticket sales and anti-Olympics propaganda.
  • Bad content incidents increased 60 per cent in the two months leading up to the games. If incidents follow Sochi activity, we expect to see another 40 per cent increase by the start of the games.
  • Overall social content increased 200 per cent in the two months leading up to the games.
  • Proofpoint says it identified more than 4,500 mobile apps associated with the Olympics and sponsor brands. The 4,000+ Android apps and 500+ iOS apps include numerous examples of risky mobile apps.

Proofpoint found that there was a direct correlation between the amount of Olympics content online and the amount of malware — the more material about the Olympics, the more malware there was.

Proofpoint provides some advice to web surfers, particularly those who are active on social media.

“As with many major events, whether holidays, elections, or sporting events, threat actors look to capitalize on our curiosity and willingness to engage via digital media,” writes Proofpoint.

“As a result, both consumers and brands need to be exceedingly cautious in their interactions with Olympic-themed social media and mobile applications, both of which are prime targets.”