Application security

Spam and spyware threat to Angolan – and other – World Cup fans


Fans of the Angolan national football team are more likely to be targeted by spam and spyware than any other fan, according to new research.

Anti-virus firm McAfee analyzed screensaver pages associated with World Cup teams and players and concluded that soccer fans have the best chance of being spammed or infected by spyware and trojans when searching for screensavers of Angolan footballers. Brazil and Portugal came second and third, respectively.

The company's SiteAdvisor research team collected the results by first searching Google for each of the 736 World Cup players, adding the phrase “World Cup Screensaver” to the search. It then cross-referenced these search engine results with its own database of spyware and spam websites. The winners were searches that resulted in the highest percentage of risky websites.

Angola beat Brazil 24 percent to 17 percent, followed by Portugal, Argentina and the United States in that order. The most dangerous player to search for was Luis Mamona Joao “Lama” from Angola, with 45 percent of first-page results leading to questionable sites. Fans of footballers like David Beckham and Ronaldinho who search online for their idols face as much as a 30-percent chance of visiting a risky website.

“Soccer fans are famous for the depth of their feelings for player, club and country, but sadly, the vendors of spyware, adware and other unwanted software know how to exploit fans’ passions for financial gain,” said Chris Dixon, director of strategy for McAfee SiteAdvisor. “This survey shows yet again that the problem of web security has truly gone global.”

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