Tuesday, June 12, 2018

A Cybersecurity Perspective of the FIFA World Cup 2018

Every 4 years, the world gets together to celebrate one of the biggest extravaganza’s, the Fifa World cup. This year Russia will be hosting the month-long tournament and it starts this week on Thursday, June 14th, 2018. I’m really looking forward to a full month of soccer parties, upsets and new stars in the making.

I’m generally a neutral when it comes to supporting the specific teams and I prefer to watch good soccer games regardless of the teams. This world cup will most likely mark the last world cup for the 2 greatest soccer players of our generation Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I don’t get involved in the arguments on who is better, and I believe both are equally great in their own rights; Both are goal scoring machines, with Messi being gifted with a natural ability and Ronaldo with sheer dedication and perseverance.

For those that have traveled and going to travel to the world cup, I ENVY YOU! It should be a lot of fun, but huge sporting events are becoming significant cyber-attack targets, so you need to protect yourself and your personal data. Here are some reminders and tips to help you –

1)    Do not use Open Wifi hotspots without routing your traffic through a VPN. A VPN will encrypt all data transmissions and in case a cyber attacker intercepts the data, they will have a hard time putting them together. You may be able to use OpenVPN which is a free VPN software available for your smart phones.

2)    Try not to access online banking or any websites where sensitive personal information can be shared. There is a high probability of a man-in-the-middle attack. Devices like wifi pineapple can be hidden at crowded areas to attack and steal information. Take a look at how easy it is to deploy a wifi-pineapple and start an attack -

3)    Avoid promotional USB sticks. They may contain malware that can corrupt your computer or worse act as a trojan.

The World Cup organizers and partners will face similar cyber-attacks. Many of them would have already taken detailed measures to avoid breaches. Here are some of them -  

1)    Possibility of DDOS attacks are very high during these kinds of events. Television channels and broadcasters need to beef up their security and properly configure Firewalls and Intrusion Protection systems to mitigate these attacks.

2)    Hotels and public gathering spaces need to ensure they have high quality networking equipment that is well secured. Moreover, they should avoid passwords such as “admin123” etc, that can be easily hacked.

3)    Ransomware and phishing emails within these organizations can be very common during this perios. The organizers must use anti-malware/ransomware tools to avoid shutdown.

Enjoy the “Beautiful Game” in Russia, but remain cautious of your personal data and ensure you take security precautions so you do not fall prey to the many scams.  

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