Watch Out for Hackers During March Madness
Technology Editor, CNBC.com
While market trading may slow down during March Madness, hackers are ramping up to get you in their own brackets.
Basketball fans need to be extra careful when scouring the web for live footage of games and teams' scores while the tournament is going on, the security firm Kaspersky Labs warns. The uptick in online activity lends itself to a perfect opportunity for a hacker to lure an unsuspecting fan into a dangerous situation, according to the security firm's researchers.
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Kaspersky Labs offer some tips to keep your personal information and bracket safe during the tournament, which ends April 8.
1. Watch Out for Poisoned Searches
Cybercriminals are aware basketball fans are searching for sites to check their teams' stats, but fans aren't always aware that sometimes those links can be dangerous.
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Hackers have been known to build websites that resemble a real sports news site, but are actually fake, malicious sites that can can infect users' systems.
Because it is difficult to spot a fake website, fans should stick to using sites that they are familiar with and those with a reputation for being a good source of sports news, Kaspersky researchers said.
2. Stream With Care
Live streaming games could also endanger your computer or mobile device.
Hackers know people want to watch the games live and will lure fans in with downloadable video programs that can wreak havoc on computer systems.
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Don't install any software program that promises you live streaming if you don't completely trust the source, researchers say.
3. Apps Can Mean Trouble, Too
Basketball fans aren't safe on their mobile applications either.
Just like installing dangerous streaming programs, fans should also steer clear of downloading apps that are "jailbroken," which are apps—usually for a hacked iPhone—that are not released through Apple's app store.
Only download apps to your mobile devices that are created by legitimate sources, researchers said. One way to help ensure that an app is safe is to read users' reviews and check its rating in the app store.
4. Careful With Your Cash
If you have a friendly wager pinned on the tournament, you'll want to be careful how you transfer that money.
While using your banking account to transfer money is usually safe, Kaspersky researchers caution fans to never check their bank account while using a public wireless network and to make sure personal computing devices have the most up-to-date security software installed.