Euros open space for security oversights

The immensely popular European Football Championships may not be seen so favourably by your company's IT security team

Holidays and large events are a great time for cyber-criminals (copa2014.gov.br via wikimedia commons)
Holidays and large events are a great time for cyber-criminals (copa2014.gov.br via wikimedia commons)

The Euros are proving a headache for IT professionals according to a new survey from ESET.  Some 27 percent of IT professionals polled feared the European football championships saying that it puts “an extra burden” on their security teams.

The findings are taken from a survey conducted ahead of the event at this year's Infosecurity Europe, polling 352 IT professionals.

Mark James, security specialist at ESET told press in a statement, “the tournament is also an opportune time for cyber-criminals to launch attacks via social media and email. This could be by posting malicious links via social media fan pages or through phishing emails with malicious attachments or links.”

The research also showed that mobile devices don't always get wiped after being reported lost or stolen. While an admirable 66 percent said that lost or stolen mobile devices get wiped ‘immediately', the remaining 34 percent did not. This does not bode well for tipsy workers, distracted with the game.

Here, James further added that, “there is a high chance some employees will misplace their corporate mobile devices. IT teams should be on guard during the Euros and have a capability in place which enables them to wipe devices as soon as they are reported missing, as opposed to taking their eyes off the ball and waiting some time before wiping them.

He concluded, “It is pretty worrying to think that many corporate devices which are reported lost or stolen, are not wiped immediately, especially considering the amount of data these devices hold today. Mobile devices are no longer just used to make calls and send texts and emails, many now have direct access to corporate networks and hold sensitive company information”.

Holidays and large international events are known to be headache-inducing occasions among the security minded. Simply, people are less alert, they drink more, give away card details more frivolously and generally let their guards slip.

Cyber-criminals and hackers know this only too well.  During the Christmas period of 2015, Threatmetrix detected 45 million attempted attacks against online retailers, up 25 percent from the previous quarter.

Vanita Pandey, VP of product strategy at the company told SCMagazineUK.com “The butterfly effect of all these events is massive for all people that have the hard job of stopping threats, both in cyber and real life.”

These events, said Pandey, “end up causing angst for good customers and result in a change in their transaction pattern, e.g. an increase to save their bank balance or decrease to watch how things unfold.  However what makes the matter worse is that the cyber-criminals try to use this opportunity to exploit any loopholes to their benefit.”

The complete results of the Infosecurity 2016 survey should be released in July this year.

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