The London 2012 Olympic Games are less than two months away, and as the countdown to the games continues, so do the Internet scams.
The latest, though certainly not the last, comes in the form of an email with an attachment of what appears to be the official Olympics schedule. From archery to wrestling, the schedule, packaged as an Adobe Reader PDF, shows every event from July 25 through the Aug. 12 closing ceremony.
But, as the researchers from the security firm F-Secure point out, the daily schedule states that it is "correct as of 15 October 2011" and that "the final competition schedule will be released in March 2011."
If this seems suspicious (or at least a little lazy on the part of the scheduling committee), it should: The calendar is nothing more than a tasty piece of bait from scammers looking to extract information from your computer.
Simply clicking on the 2012 London Olympics attachment triggers a piece of malware that attempts to exploit unpatched security vulnerabilities in older versions of Adobe Reader and Acrobat. While you're looking at the outdated schedule, the exploit is connecting to a site called news.studenttrail.com, registered in Baotoushi, China.
This is not likely to be the last Olympics-theme scam to come your way, but if you're careful and exercise some basic Web common sense, you can keep your computer out of trouble. As F-Secure says: "Be wary of Olympic (and any other current event) theme emails that have attachments and/or links." If you're interested in London Olympics information, go to the official website, www.london2012.com.
As seen countless times, online scammers take full advantage of major news stories or events that, like the upcoming Summer Games, draw worldwide attention. Whether it's "free" tickets or hotel accommodations, don't click on any unsolicited email or Facebook post promising any Olympics offers. And make sure your anti-virus software is up to date; in the event a clever cyberscam fools you, let the AV software fix your mistake.