Report finds risk for cyber-threats to fans doubles during UEFA Euro 2016

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Allot Communications, a leading provider of security and monetization solutions, has released Allot MobileTrends Report UEFA Euro 2016: How Sports Events Put Mobile Users at Risk, in collaboration with Kaspersky Lab, a global cybersecurity company. The report reveals that the risks for digitally active sports fans more than doubled during the 2016 UEFA European Championship. The report also provides insights into how major events impact online behaviors and increase the potential for mobile internet users to fall victim to cyber-threats such as malware infection, phishing and ransomware.

Among the report’s key findings were the following:

• 17% of mobile users who exhibited little or no use of sports apps or websites before the games, became active sports fans during the games. Nearly 50% of these casual fans transitioned into sports fans’ behavior profiles with high potential risk for malware.

• The total number of mobile sports fans at high risk of cyber threats more than doubled during the games.

• Increases in online sports betting and social networking are major contributors to increased cybersecurity risk.

• The number of mobile sports fans accessing betting sites more than doubled during the tournament’s matches. Before the matches, one in nine users visited sports betting sites. During the matches, one in four visited sports betting sites.

• During matches, the average time users spent on social media apps or sites tripled over their pre-tournament activity.

“Cyber-criminals often use big events to lure users with phishing emails and fake websites, exposing fans to intensified and new potential cyber risks. Users should be aware of potential threats and look out when clicking on links, entering their credentials on websites, or making financial transactions,” notes Alexander Karpitsky, head of technology licensing, Kaspersky Lab. “We at Kaspersky Lab recommend sport fans take a proactive approach to their online security, especially when mobile, safeguarding their devices with IT security solutions at all times.”

“As sports fans are going mobile and devices are used widely for watching, recording and sharing experiences, users must protect themselves online, and CSPs [communication service providers]are in the best position to deliver these value-added services to subscribers,” says Yaniv Sulkes, AVP marketing at Allot Communications. “Since major sports events are shown to be times of high risk for mobile users, it’s also when mobile service providers have an opportunity to educate customers regarding malware risks and to offer network-based security services to protect mobile devices. With the Rio 2016 Summer Olympics on the horizon, mobile operators who adopt a proactive cyber-protection strategy for their customers will be able to leverage monetization opportunities.”

The Allot research team analyzed the mobile app and website usage of one million randomly selected mobile subscribers from countries participating in Euro 2016 before and during the matches. Based on data from Kaspersky Lab, Allot’s data science experts segmented the digitally active sports fans according to their online behavior and correlated them with their potential risk according to specific online use categories with a high potential risk. Full details can be found in the report.

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