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August 05, 2016

In Rio for the Olympics? Be on Full Alert for Cybercrime

Pollution. Terrorism. Zika. These are just some of the threats lurking in Rio during the Olympic Games, which start today.  

Another major threat that Olympic attendees need to be aware of is cybercrime.

Security experts are cautioning that attendees should be on full alert for cybercriminals who will be looking to prey on unsuspecting victims throughout the duration of the Olympics.

Brazil, in case you’re unaware, is a huge target for cybercriminals. The country recently ranked no. 4 in the world in cybercrime. Last year, attacks in Brazil skyrocketed by 274 percent.

Plus, as PC World pointed out, the problem has been getting worse over the past few months. The number of malicious URLs in Brazil increased by 83 percent between April and June. The rest of the world, in comparison, only saw 16 percent growth during this time.

So make no mistake about it: Hackers will be out in full force throughout this high profile event. If you’re travelling to Rio, don’t get caught off guard.

Use these tips to stay safe online:

Watch out for phony websites: Use the utmost caution when visiting high-risk websites such as government organizations or banks. Hackers are targeting end users by setting up false domains to mimic those of official institutions. For instance, over 3,800 malicious URLs and websites were recently discovered containing the domain “gov.br.” You may think you are visiting an official website, when in fact you could be visiting one that is hosted by a criminal organization. VirusTotal is a free program you can use to scan a URL or file before you click it. We recommend that you use this website regularly.  

Avoid public Wi-Fi: Hotels, cafes and stadiums will all be offering public Wi-Fi for guests throughout the duration of the event. Your best bet is to steer clear of these Wi-Fi hubs at all costs, as criminals will be setting up fake hotspots which are actually privately-owned networks designed to steal private information. Battery recharging stations and public computers are also very risky, as they can be embedded with malware.

Update all of your passwords: Make sure your online accounts  are updated with secure passwords so that hackers cannot break into them easily. If possible, you should also protect accounts using multifactor security options like fingerprint or voice scanners, security questions and one-time codes. It’s also a good idea to log out of your accounts when they are not in use. And never store password lists in documents, which can be easily stolen from your computer. Create passwords that you can remember.

Back up your critical data: As we have been discussing here on the Apex blog, ransomware is a huge cybersecurity threat that you need to be aware of. It will undoubtedly make its way across Rio in the next few days.  In a ransomware attack, a hacker will either freeze your computer or files, or delete information at regular intervals until a ransom is paid. Ransomware is picked up by clicking on an infected link or website, or by opening an infected email attachment. A sophisticated hacker could also break into your device by exploiting a software vulnerability. You can’t do much to prevent a hacker from targeting your device with ransomware, but you can protect your private information by storing it in an external device or hosted cloud server. If you do this, you may be able to avoid paying a ransom in the event of an infection.

Don’t let strangers use your devices: Watch out for strangers who ask to use your devices for personal reasons—like making phone calls, checking their bank accounts or sending emails. While you may have a humanitarian urge to help someone in need, he or she could easily embed malware or use your device to commit a crime. If someone asks to use your device, point them in the direction of the nearest public service station and politely decline.

Run regular malware scans: Don’t travel to Rio until all of your personal devices are up to date with the latest anti-malware software. Then, schedule periodic scans throughout the day. By continuously scanning your devices, you will increase your chances of spotting threats early on before they can spread deeper into your network.

We sincerely hope that these tips help keep you safe while you are travelling to the Olympics. Our goal is not to not make you afraid of using the Internet while you are traveling, but to respect it—especially while you are traveling internationally.

And one more thing...GO U.S.A.!

A new breed of hacktrepeneurs has awoken and they have little to fear and everything to gain by infecting as many companies as possible and extorting money from them. Apex Technology Services stands ready to protect your company regardless of whether it’s located in New York CityWhite Plains, New York; Connecticut; Australia; Europe; or anywhere else. Our full suite of cybersecurity and IT support services is at your disposal, enabling you to spend less time worrying about and more time growing your business.

In addition, our new Cybersecurity Compliance Certification for law firms will help keep your legal practice from becoming the next Panama Papers victim. This baseline cybersecurity audit for the legal industry should be considered seriously by all law firms.







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