Fake Olympic tickets and Zika news apps scam users

Scammers are creating fake websites targeting Olympic fans

These days not a headline goes by without some cybercriminal jumping all over it. Now, with the Olympics coming up and travelers wary of the Zika virus, scammers are creating fake websites and apps to steal money or to infect users with malware.

"There are actually sites that say they sell tickets, but never actually give you tickets," said James Pledger, research director at RiskIQ.

Sometimes, it's easy to spot the fakes.

"One of the most common things is very poor English," he said. "Or they'll only accept payment in online currencies or wire transfers. Other indicators are that there are a lot of complaints, or they've been up for a very short time frame."

Take, for example, Tickets4SummerGames. The website has since been taken down, but the Facebook page is still up.

From the screenshots, images and posts, it can seem legitimate at first glance. But when you look closer, the writing is awkward and unprofessional, and there are customer comments saying that they never got their tickets and want their money back.

Kaspersky Labs analysts say that the anti-virus company is "constantly blocking dozens of newly registered domains" to fake ticket sales sites.

olympics fraud site RiskIQ

One tactic is to ask for bank card information, and use it to steal money from the users' bank accounts. They tell the users that payment has been received, and that the tickets will be sent two or three weeks before the event.

"By the time they realize they won’t be getting the tickets they booked it will be too late to buy genuine tickets… especially if there’s no money in their bank account," said analysts Tatyana Shcherbakova and Andrey Kostin in their report.

Last time around, scam sites promising tickets to sold-out events at the Beijing Olympics took some people for tens of thousands of dollars.

Buyers should be cautious, and check the official list of Olympic ticket resellers before sending any money.

There are also fake sites pretending to sell Olympics merchandise.

According to a report by RSA, some of the fake sites rank higher than legitimate sites due to aggressive search engine poisoning.

Mobile apps that promise to deliver Olympics-related news and information, or updates about the Zika virus, typically turn out to have little functionality when they're installed. Other than the malware, that is.

"It depends on how much effort they want to go to," said RiskIQ's Pledger.

With sophisticated, targeted attacks, there might be some real content, usually illegally copied from somewhere else.

"But a lot of times, to be completely honest, these guys are trying to do it as quickly as possible," Pledger said.

The criminals lure people in with spam emails, search engines, and will even buy advertisements.

When the applications are taken down by app store owners or legal authorities, they just pop right back up again.

The fake mobile apps typically are either trying to steal information or to dial toll numbers.

There's also another damaging aspect to some of these scams, said Pledger -- they may be piggy-backing on a legitimate brand and hurting its reputation.

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

More about CSOFacebookKasperskyRSA

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by Maria Korolov

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    IDG Live Webinar:The right collaboration strategy will help your business take flight

    Speakers - Mike Harris, Engineering Services Manager, Jetstar - Christopher Johnson, IT Director APAC, 20th Century Fox - Brent Maxwell, Director of Information Systems, THE ICONIC - IDG MC/Moderator Anthony Caruana

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts