The increasing threat of hackers at major sporting events

This blog post was written by Nick Viney.

Every year, sporting events around the world become a desirable target for cyber criminals preying on unsuspecting tourists, many of which are browsing for information online and using various WiFi hotspots that make them vulnerable to data theft.

There are a number of factors that make these types of events appealing to cyber criminals, the most important being the sheer number of tourists at the event that are unfamiliar with the local networks and are at a disadvantage due to language barriers. Because tourists are often browsing online for news about the event they are at, or looking for downloadable guides and maps, it is the perfect opportunity for hackers to steal personal information and money through scams and fake phishing sites.


Sporting events that have been known to be targeted by cyber criminals include Wimbledon, which this year saw a 302% year-to-year rise in attacks on the official website, the Euros and Tour de France. Even the London 2012 Olympics was a target, resulting in more than 165m online cyber security incidents that year, according to cyber security officials at the time.

So how can you protect yourself and your personal information if you’re heading to a sporting event this year, or in the future? Here are some tips:

  1. If a link or email looks suspicious, avoid opening it. Free tickets and giveaways always have a catch and are usually too good to be true
  2. Avoid connecting to free Wi-Fi networks or bluetooth paired devices, it’s best to use a VPN service to encrypt all your data
  3. Invest in a portable charging device rather than connecting your USB in unsecure ports
  4. Where possible, password protect all your devices using PINs and fingerprint recognition
  5. Delete or turn off social apps that use your GPS and store data about you.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter for updates on the latest cybersecurity news and trends: @nick_viney

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