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Watch out for cybercrime at World Cup 2022

One of the largest sporting events in the world, the FIFA World Cup 2022, is almost upon us, and with two weeks to go we need to be ready for anything that is targeted at us.

Now we don’t want to come across as ‘kill-joys’ as we know that the tournament will elicit much joy and interest amongst many people, but just a few words of caution about the risks of cybercriminal activity during the occasion.

We have seen all kinds of threats targeted at all kinds of events in the past and the FIFA World Cup 2022 will be no different. So, for anyone thinking that this isn’t an issue just think about the huge audience the event draws in. Last time the tournament was hosted by Russia and attracted billions of viewers and followers. So be aware that cybercriminals will target this event to take advantage of the huge number of people and the interest surrounding it.

Indeed, as far back as last year, CNET reported phishing scams related to the event, even though the tournament was still over 12 months away.

Education as to the potential treats is key here so here’s some advice as to how to keep cyber safe.

Ticket scams

If you are being offered tickets for matches, then the chances are that it’s too good to be true. Scammers will exploit people’s fear of missing out but remember that no tickets are sold or resold outside official channels. If you want tickets, then go to the official site.

Gambling scams

With the huge growth of online gambling, cybercriminals will be looking to abuse the World Cup situation to extract funds and credentials. Look out for fake offers and be on your guard should you miraculously have a good win and are asked to click to verify and download.


Be aware that cybercriminals will be offering you the opportunity to win flights, tickets, hotels, and hospitality packages. There could be legitimate operations but to be sure always undertake additional research into the operation running the competition.

Phishing and malware

Be on red alert when receiving advert and email messages about the World Cup asking you to click on links or download files. Stick to official channels and never trust anything that you are not expecting or looks like it’s come from a non-official source.

Here’s some further information and guidance to help you keep safe:

Types of phishing scams

Seven tips to help you recognise phishing

Five tips to prevent phishing

Why you need two-factor authentication


Expect there to be a flurry of activity with cyberattacks being carried out via text messaging, also known as SMS phishing. It’s a variant of phishing aimed at deceiving you into imparting your sensitive information, and data-based mobile and messaging apps can also be targeted.

Malicious websites

Let’s face it, there is going to be loads of information posted online and countless internet searches for the World Cup. Be aware of search engine results as cybercriminals will be trying to lure you to malicious websites with the intent of capturing your personal information and credentials through to installing malware. Check the URLs carefully before clicking.

Social media

We all know the popularity of the social networks with many users using them as their primary source of news and information. Expect there to be some abuse of these networks to spread misinformation and fake news or malicious offers such as those previously mentioned.

Licenced viewing

A word of warning if you’re watching the games from your office. Be aware that you need a licence to do so and without one you risk a fine. Also be aware of illegal streaming sites as these are not only unlicenced but also could harbour malware.

Our final bit of advice covers all the above. If it sounds too good to be true, then it probably is and if you are in any doubt whatsoever or something doesn’t ring true, then don’t engage.

If you would like to strengthen your business’s security posture and educate your people about cybercrime methods and risks, then our Cyber Security Training could be for you.