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Word Cup ticket scam doubles the trouble

Kaspersky Lab experts have identified phishing emails from fraudsters offering users the chance to snap up much sought after ‘guest’ tickets to the 2018 FIFA World Cup – but at a higher price than fans bargained for.

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Some tickets are on offer at ten times their original price, and while the tickets are likely to be unusable – due to a strict registration and transfer procedure – fraudsters are taking the money and collecting users’ private data, including payment information, to steal more funds in a twofold monetisation scam.

Major events attract fraudsters’ attention, with the noise and excitement around them making it easier for attackers to prey on their potential victims’ lack of vigilance. Recipients are drawn to the seemingly legitimate emails, which focus on global sporting championships watched by big audiences across the world. The upcoming World Cup is no exception.

This event is particularly interesting because there are a number of obstacles complicating the process of buying tickets. For instance, tickets can only be purchased on the official FIFA website and the procedure is multilayered and sophisticated for security reasons. Ordering a ticket takes place in three stages and only 1 ticket per person is allowed. The exception to this is guest tickets, which allows the purchaser to buy up to 3 additional tickets. However, these are registered to specific names and can only be changed if the holder applies to transfer the intended recipient to another. Despite this complicated process, fraudsters have used this to their advantage.

When the window to purchase tickets opened, the official website experienced a massive surge in users attempting to order their tickets, which led to connection problems. During the process, fraudsters bought up as many tickets as they could with the aim of selling them on to a desperate fan base. With tickets now sold out, many people have been left with no alternative but to go to touts or third parties in order to be at a game.

Fraudsters have set up hundreds of domains with wording related to the World Cup, to sell their guest tickets. Many have increased the price to more than double face value, with some tickets available at up to 10 times the original cost, according to Kaspersky Lab experts. With full advance payment required, there is no guarantee that fraudsters will forward the tickets, that guest tickets reserved for other people will work at a stadium, or that they will be genuine. What is guaranteed, however, is that the payment information used to buy the tickets will give scammers all they need to collect additional funds from the user in the future.

“According to our research, there is a real risk that users will pay a lot of money and get nothing in return. This type of cyber fraud can also lead to further money stealing. We urge sport fans to be extra vigilant and savvy when buying tickets. No matter how attractive the offer is, the only way to ensure you won’t get duped is to use authorised sellers,” warns Andrey Kostin, Senior Web-Content Analyst at Kaspersky Lab.

To make sure users don’t become victims of this type of scam, Kaspersky Lab’s anti-phishing system detects and blocks fraudulent emails and websites.

There are also a number of simple steps that football fans can follow to keep themselves and their money safe, both during the World Cup and beyond:

– Be vigilant. Only buy tickets from the official sources and always double check the site address and the links you want to follow

– Do not click on links in emails, texts, instant messaging or social media posts if they come from people or organisations you don’t know, or have suspicious or unusual addresses

– Have a separate bank card and account with a limited amount of money, specifically for online purchases. This will help to avoid serious financial losses if your bank details are stolen

– De-risk the data. It is better to install a reliable security solution with up-to-date databases of malicious and phishing sites

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Get your passwords in shape

New Year’s resolutions should extend to getting password protection sorted out, writes Carey van Vlaanderen, CEO at ESET Southern Africa.

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Many of us have entered the new year with a boat load of New Year’s resolutions.  Doing more exercise, fixing unhealthy eating habits and saving more money are all highly respectable goals, but could it be that they don’t go far enough in an era with countless apps and sites that scream for letting them help you reach your personal goals.

Now, you may want to add a few weightier and yet effortless habits on top of those well-worn choices. Here are a handful of tips for ‘exercises’ that will go good for your cyber-fitness.

I won’t pass up on stubborn passwords

Passwords have a bad rap, and deservedly so: they suffer from weaknesses, both in terms of security and convenience, that make them a less-than-ideal method of authentication.  However, much of what the internet offers is independent on your singing up for this or that online service, and the available form of authentication almost universally happens to the username/password combination.

As the keys that open online accounts (not to speak of many devices), passwords are often rightly thought of as the first – alas, often only – line of defence that protects your virtual and real assets from intruders. However, passwords don’t offer much in the way of protection unless, in the first place, they’re strong and unique to each device and account.

But what constitutes a strong password?  A passphrase! Done right, typical passphrases are generally both more secure and more user-friendly than typical passwords. The longer the passphrase and the more words it packs the better, with seven words providing for a solid start. With each extra character (not to mention words), the number of possible combinations rises exponentially, which makes simple brute-force password-cracking attacks far less likely to succeed, if not well-nigh impossible (assuming, of course, that the service in question does not impose limitations on password input length – something that is, sadly, far too common).

Click here to read about making secure passwords by not using dictionary words, using two-factor authentication, and how biometrics are coming to web browsers.

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Code Week prepares 2.3m young Africans for future

By SUNIL GENESS, Director Government Relations & CSR, Global Digital Government, at SAP Africa.

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On January 6th, 2019, news broke of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s plans to announce a new approach to education in his second State of the Nation address, including:

  • A universal roll-out of tablets for all pupils in the country’s 23 700 primary and secondary schools
  • Computer coding and robotics classes for the foundation-phase pupils from grade 1-3 and the
  • Digitisation of the entire curriculum, , including textbooks, workbooks and all teacher support material.

With this, the President has shown South Africa’s response to a global challenge: equipping our youth with the skills they’ll need to survive and thrive in the 21st century digital economy.

Africa’s working-age population will increase to 600 million in 2030 from a base of 370 million in 2010.

In South Africa, unemployment stands at 26.7 percent, but is much more pronounced among youths: 52.2 percent of the country’s 15-24-year-olds are looking for work.

As an organisation deeply invested in South Africa and its future, SAP has developed and implemented a range of initiatives aimed at fostering digital skills development among the country’s youth, including:

AFRICA CODE WEEK

Since its launch in 2015, Africa Code Week has introduced more than 4 million African youth to basic coding.

In 2018, more than 2.3 million youth across 37 countries took part in Africa Code Week.

The digital skills development initiative’s focus on building local capacity for sustainable learning resulted in close to 23 000 teachers being trained in the run-up to the October 2018 events.

Vital to the success of Africa Code Week is the close support it receives from a broad spectrum of public and private sector institutions, including UNESCO YouthMobile, Google, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the Cape Town Science Centre, the Camden Education Trust, 28 African governments, over 130 implementing partners and 120 ambassadors across the continent.

SAP’s efforts to drive digital skills development on the African continent forms part of a broader organisational commitment to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, specifically Goal 4 (“Ensure quality and inclusive education for all”)

A core component of Africa Code Week is to encourage female participation in STEM-related skills development activities: in 2018, more than 46% of all Africa Code Week participants were female.

According to Africa Code Week Global Coordinator Sunil Geness, female representation in STEM-related fields among African businesses currently stands at 30%, “requiring powerful public-private partnerships to start turning the tide and creating more equitable opportunities for African youth to contribute to the continent’s economic development and success”.

Click here to read more about the Skills for Africa graduate training programme, and about the LEGO League.

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