FIFA World Cup Russia 2018—Why Brands Need to Stay Vigilant

Every international sporting event brings with it the risk of phishing, fake apps, and counterfeited goods. Opportunistic criminals everywhere try to make a quick buck preying on the excitement of fans all over the world. It’s no different for the FIFA World Cup™ Russia 2018—but the counterfeit industry robs customers and brands of far more than small change.

Phishing and counterfeit goods

Global phishing attempts will be rampant, with emails luring fans to enter personal credentials or banking information to claim “a prize” related to the sporting event. These emails could contain malware, meaning one click can infect the recipient’s computer and possibly that person’s contacts as well.

The links could also lead to fraudulent websites using keywords like “World Cup,” “Russia 2018,” “FIFA,” selling fake merchandise or illegal black market tickets that won’t be honored at the games—because bad actors know it’s easy and affordable to register domain names.

Mobile apps and social media

The trend of using mobile apps and social media to make purchases is climbing, making it easy to trick consumers. Again, fraudsters know it’s easy to set up fake social media profiles to redirect users to illegitimate websites—and they look legitimate with pilfered brand logos, product descriptions, and images. Cyber criminals also create fake mobile apps in a brand’s likeness or name with the intention of redirecting consumer traffic to their fake site, installing malware onto user devices, or stealing information. The options available for brand abuse and consumer fraud are endless.

With such large international audiences for sporting events like the Word Cup, even a fraction of the total number of consumers—if successfully scammed—translates into huge payouts for cyber criminals.

Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks

In the last World Cup, hacktivists launched DDoS attacks against government and sponsored websites making sites inaccessible to legitimate customers. Cyber criminals use internet-connected devices to flood websites with traffic, making it impossible for customers to access the site to make purchases, costing the brand money from sales, as well as reputation. Security experts noted that DDoS attacks were prevalent during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea, so to also expect them at the 2018 World Cup.

Reputation loss

Aside from losing potential revenue, and consumers being scammed, the cyber attacks will erode the trust and reputation of legitimate brands, especially in the new customer markets they are nurturing.

For any brand expanding their presence to global markets, it is important to actively protect and secure online brand presence by partnering with a corporate provider for brand protection and monitoring. Look for a partner who is able to mitigate fraud, take enforcement action, and prevent cyber attacks.

This post is the abridged version of an article originally published at .