March is in full swing, which can only mean we’re about to enter the mayhem that is the college basketball finals. Soon enough, 64 teams will be whittled down to the sweet 16, then the final four, and before our eyes—our brackets will be falling apart. But before you place your bets on your top teams and break out your jersey for your alma mater, remember that basketball teams might not be the only ones losing this month, as cybercriminals have their eyes on your data while your eyes are on the court.
That also means, like a coach planning plays out for the team, crooks are plotting ways to score a slam dunk of their own (that is, to score your personal data). So whether you’re streaming the game online, using a friend’s Wi-Fi because you’re over at their place watching the game, or looking up stats on the hottest sports apps and sites, it’s crucial to be on the alert for a cyberattack. To make sure you safe stay while watching your favorite team close out the 4th quarter, here are a few tips:
- Stream safely. There are hundreds of apps and streaming sites out there that are offering you a front seat to the action. But that doesn’t mean all of those are secure. So, when you’re streaming the next big match, make sure you only use legitimate sources like cbssports.com. And if you’re unsure about the site’s legitimacy, it may be best to just opt out and catch the highlight reel afterwards—it’s just not worth the security risk.
- Watch with Wi-Fi in mind. Whether you’re hitting a viewing party or a sports bar, make sure you stay cautious when tapping into an open network. Public Wi-Fi networks are ideal for cybercriminals wishing to access multiple devices at once, so unless a network is locked with a strong password, avoid connecting to it. Connecting to a VPN is also a good way to get around the security woes of public Wi-Fi.
- Stay cautious on popular sports sites and apps. Cybercriminals know that starting March 14th, millions of loyal fans will be logging on to popular sports sites and apps to stay updated on the scores, check if their teams are still in the running, and catch the best plays of the day. So, make sure that when you’re visiting these sites, you’re not clicking on any conspicuous ads or links that could contain malware.
- Protect all of your players. No matter where you’re watching the game, make sure you secure all of your devices with a comprehensive security solution, such as McAfee LiveSafe. That way, you can cheer on your favorite team without worrying about cybercriminal opponents trying to score your data.