Security researchers estimate that up to 80% of Olympics-related domain names are being
used to pump out spam, deliver malware and conduct other cybercrimes. They’ve detected a new spam campaign that claims to be a news story about an Olympics scandal. The fake story claims a US Olympic gold medalist failed a drug test and includes a link to a report. The link leads to a site made to look like YouTube and, if the fake video is clicked on, malware is downloaded. Sadly, the messages exploit the popularity of gymnast Gabby Douglas, who won the Women’s All Around gold medal.
This is just the latest in a flood of Olympic spams and scams. Some spam messages claim to offer tickets, others free live streams and some spammers are just trying to grab a chunk of the huge audience the Olympics generates by putting up sites with Olympic related domain names plastered with Adsense ads or go so far as to purposely put up sites whose domain names are misspelled versions of legit sites.
These types of spams and scams are nothing new. Spammers live to exploit big events, hot news stories, holidays and natural disasters. You can expect back to school and Halloween themed spam soon and right on its heels the annual Christmas spam parade. While spam levels in general have dipped, spear phishing and malicious spam is rising. It’s possible the rise in malicious spam is from spammers desperate to rebuild or replace dead botnets.
Protect yourself from malicious Olympics spam by getting your Olympics news and coverage from known legit sites. If a scandal hits you’ll learn about it there, not from a random email from a stranger.