Cybercriminals are targeting football fans scrambling for tickets for the 2010 FIFA World Cup Tournament in South Africa, warns security firm Symantec.
The firm predicts a huge rise in World Cup-related spam and phishing attacks in the run up to the event in June and July next year.
"Attackers will either try to compromise legitimate websites to gain sensitive information or spam e-mail users with messages that try to persuade users to go to illegitimate websites where their personal information can be harvested," said Candid Wueest, senior security researcher for Symantec.
Analysis of these types of attacks in the past has shown an increase in themed attacks, especially related to major events.
According to Symantec's monthly spam reports, around 10% of all spam in 2008 was fraud-related, such as those advertising false tickets.
"As time draws near fans become increasingly likely to take risks and purchase tickets through unauthorised channels or believe the promises in unsolicited emails," said Wueest.
Fans not only run the risk of paying for counterfeit tickets to matches, but this could also lead to the theft of their credit card details, he said.
During the previous FIFA World Cup, related phishing attacks jumped by 40%. As many as 4,615 phishing hosts per month were discovered in 2008, up 66% over the previous year.
Guidelines to avoid World Cop online scams
- If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is - many criminals use extravagant promises to lure victims into clicking through to malicious sites and divulge personal information
- Never click on links from e-mails - links can contain viruses or Trojans or direct users to infected websites
- Buy only from FIFA registered sellers - FIFA has a strict code of conduct on all outlets and these are the only places fans should look to buy ticket
Image: Guiliano Bevilacqua/Rex Features