Malware could reach Olympic proportions

News by Dan Raywood

Symantec is warning of potential spam, malware and phishing attacks hiding behind an Olympic theme.

Symantec is warning of potential spam, malware and phishing attacks hiding behind an Olympic theme.


With the 2008 games set to open this Friday, the company has warned companies and consumers to be vigilant of suspicious downloads and emails as its July spam report warned of a large spike in spam purporting to be games related. One campaign pretended to originate from the Beijing Olympic Committee, declared the recipient a winner of the Olympic lottery and requested that they respond by return email to claim their fraudulent prize.


In the past, websites for sporting events such as the NFL Super Bowl have fallen prey to attacks that compromise the website to download malware onto the user's computers when they view the page. These compromised sites may not even be official websites, but could be chat forums and other discussion sites for the sporting event.


According to the latest Symantec Internet Security Threat Report XIII, web-based threats are growing, with attackers leveraging site-specific vulnerabilities that can then be used as a means for launching other attacks.


Symantec warned that there are two ways in which these samples modify web pages, the first is that the malicious code adds its own code to a Web page so that other people who view the page may become infected. The second way is that an iframe tag is added to the Web page that redirects users to another Web site. Businesses are instructed to keep their security software up to date and to ensure that your computer has the latest patches and security updates and to make sure it is configured securely.

Richard Archdeacon, director of Symantec Global Security warns: “At key global sporting and social events we often see a big rise in Internet security attacks, which ranges from simple spam attacks to websites relating to those events being compromised. As expected, the Beijing Olympics is gearing up to be one of the biggest events of the year and hackers and spammers will see it as a massive opportunity to compromise the unwary.

“Members of the public have to remember that they should not open emails or click on links from unknown sources, no matter how many gold medals they are offering. Businesses need to ensure that their networks are patched and their Web sites up-to-date with the latest security solutions or they risk damaging their corporate reputation by unsuspectingly hosting malicious code on their websites.”

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