Plan for Interceptions and Stolen Signals: Keeping Devices Safe at the Super Bowl

As fortunate fans are making their way to Minneapolis to cheer on the Patriots or the Eagles in this year’s Super Bowl LII, millions of fans will come to depend on some connected device to place bets, share their thoughts and views on social media, or even watch this year’s football feat. Even the teams themselves have gone through digital transformations and will have tablets in hand as they work through their playbooks battling for a big win.

Why does this matter to cybersecurity? Because every device connected to the internet can be compromised by a malicious actor. These team tablets store highly sensitive information about the teams’ plays and game plans. Hackers know this, and they are as eager to exploit their attacks as the coaches and players are to destroy the opposing teams.

The digital playbooks of either team ending up in the hands of a cybercriminal could have disastrous consequences. That means an interception over a wireless signal on a connected device could be more damaging than one on the field–from a security perspective at least.  Could you imagine the firestorm that would be created if the digital playbooks for Patriots or Eagles were stolen and released before the game?  We could be discussing Cybergate come Monday morning.

But, what are the chances of that happening? Security Boulevard reported that “49% of fans connected to the free Wi-Fi last year at LI (a 41% increase year over year). 100,000 threats were reported – with only 19 considered serious – but at that scale, serious outbreaks could occur.” Those are seemingly good odds, but does your organization really want to take that gamble?

Shocking as this news might be, lots of folks gamble on the Super Bowl. There’s an app for that, but that doesn’t mean the app is legitimate. One thing is for sure, hackers already have fraudulent apps ready for game day download.

Additional hacker schemes involve everything from social engineering to taking advantage of social networks. Earlier this week we learned that hackers were embedding malicious malware onto Youtube’s ads to mine cryptocurrency. Other cybercriminals are leveraging the human element of misguided trust or absent-minded fun, using shorter links with no identifiable destination to trick users into clicking and thereby infecting connected devices. Also popular are the pop-up surveys that ask who will win the Super Bowl and offer a free gift card to respondents. Users should heed caution with these unsolicited contest emails using the Super Bowl in the subject.

Avoiding the trickle down effect

The Super Bowl has become a cyber crime trendsetter. What has worked at the Super Bowl has had a bit of a trickle down effect into the enterprise sector. Over the coming months and years, businesses will be the target of the attacks that proved successful during the biggest sporting event in the US.

It’s come to pass that most people are connected all the time in both their personal and work communications. Yes, many employees will either be watching the game or at the Super Bowl, but Code42 an alert warning businesses that Fans will be using personal and company-owned devices, such as laptops, to access public Wi-Fi at local hotels and coffee shops, make online purchases, respond to event promotions, take care of transactions with business partners, reply to company emails and more.”

Ever lurking in the dark shadows of the internet are those cybercriminals who will spin up football-related websites and apps that spread malware. If all goes according to the plans in their hacker playbooks, they will successfully be able to steal sensitive personal information.

So be vigilant. Keep your personal and professional data safe by using trusted apps from well-known sources. Never connect to free public Wi-Fi, and keep devices with you at all times. Having your wits about you will help you click with caution. But if you’re throwing caution to the wind, put the phone in your pocket and just enjoy the game.

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