Research finds increased cyber threat activity in Brazil during Olympics

Cyberattacks during the Olympic games are not new. There has been seen a spike of attacks focused on the Olympics – including targeting vendors and spectators – beginning as far back as the 2004 Summer Olympics in Greece.

Cybersecurity firm Fortinet latest Cyber Threat Landscape Global Report cites increased threat activity in Brazil and explains why it deserves special attention ahead of the Rio Olympics.

Cybersecurity at Rio Olympics

There are three main reasons why the 2016 Rio Olympics deserves special attention:

Low priority for cyber attacks in Brazil

Analysis seems to indicate that cyberthreats and attacks are not (yet) a priority for Brazil. According to the World Economic Forum’s (WEF) ranking of global risks, Brazil only ranks concerns about cyberattacks as #23, and data fraud/theft at #16. This is concerning since countries like the US, Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, and a few others rank cyberattacks as their #1 business risk.

Given the high profile of the Olympic games, we would expect the risks of cyberattack and data theft to be ranked much higher for Brazil.

Increased threat activity

The volume of malicious and phishing artefacts (i.e. domain names and URLs) in Brazil is on the rise. In June, Brazil’s percentage increase was higher in three of four categories in Fortinet’s report when compared with the global percentage increase. The highest percentage growth was in the malicious URL category at 83% compared to 16% for the rest of the world.

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Games act as a magnet

As the 2016 Rio Olympics unfold, the history of these increased attacks will undoubtedly continue and FortiGuard Labs is already seeing indicators of repeat techniques such as domain lookalikes for payment fraud and malicious websites or URLs targeting event and government officials.


Edited from press release by Cecilia Rehn.