With a great eagerness to watch F1, viewers have become inattentive to the sources they visit, and this is what cybercriminals are waiting for. Picture: REUTERS
With a great eagerness to watch F1, viewers have become inattentive to the sources they visit, and this is what cybercriminals are waiting for. Picture: REUTERS

With restrictions driven by the pandemic, not all Formula One fans are able to attend events, which has led to an increase in the popularity of live streaming.

However, cybercriminals often take advantage of fans’ eagerness to watch Grand Prix events by instigating various online fraud schemes.

Ahead of this weekend’s Italian Grand Prix, cybersecurity company Kaspersky analysed numerous websites offering to stream the race live for free and found some of them to be phishing websites to steal viewers’ credentials.

To watch the F1 stream, spectators were required to register on the website and pay $1 (about R14.30) to continue watching, says Tatyana Shcherbakova, security expert at Kaspersky. “Unsurprisingly, these websites turned out to be fraudulent and were being used as a tool in scammers’ schemes to steal credit card details. This type of phishing is widespread and considered to be one of the most popular among scammers.”

Kaspersky has discovered such phishing websites offering to stream F1 not only for the Italian Grand Prix but also for races in Russia, the Netherlands and other countries.

“Cybercriminals use big sporting events as one of the most popular lures to steal users’ money and credentials. We have already observed a similar trend during the Olympic Games.” says Shcherbakova.

“With a great eagerness to watch F1, viewers have become inattentive to the sources they visit, and this is exactly what cybercriminals are waiting for. Fraudsters have developed a variety of techniques to distract users’ attention and steal their credentials, which is why we encourage spectators to be alert to the sites they visit.”  

To avoid falling victim to a scam, Kaspersky advises users to do the following:

Check the authenticity of websites before entering personal data and only use official web pages to watch sport transmissions;

Double-check URL formats and company name spelling;

Сheck the link before clicking. Hover over it to preview the URL and look for misspelt words or other irregularities; and, 

Use a security solution, such as Kaspersky Security Cloud, that identifies malicious attachments and blocks phishing sites.

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