The Brazilian government plans to flood the streets of Rio de Janeiro with 85,000 armed soldiers and police to ensure security on the ground during the Olympic Games.
But several reports and analysis from experts indicate that one of the biggest threats to visitors will come from the internet.
The country saw an 83% increase in malicious URLs, compared to just 16% growth for the rest of the world, the report found. Worldwide phishing activity was also up, with a 76% spike from April to June, Fortinet reported. “Additional email phishing takeaways include increased activity from Tokelau with the top four country code domains in Q2 2016 being Brazil, Columbia, Russia and India.”
According to a report from Kaspersky Lab, Brazil sustained the most attacks from phishing attempts, with workers at the games being targeted for their credentials.
“In February we identified a very interesting targeted campaign, on our domain monitoring system, against the IOC using the malicious domain masquerade as their Intranet portal,” Kaspersky’s report said. “The purpose of the attackers was to steal credentials of IOC employees working in Brazil.”
Kaspersky researchers also said that tests on the ground in Brazil “showed roughly one in four wireless internet access points likely to be used by tourists were highly vulnerable to cyber attacks,” Insight Crime noted.
“There’s certainly sophisticated criminals that can clearly propagate” identity theft and compromise credit cards, Jim Hutton, chief security officer at On Call International and former director of global security for Proctor and Gamble, told Business Insider prior to the games, which run from August 5 to August 21.
“If companies are traveling, especially sponsor companies,” Hutton added, “they might be traveling with proprietary information about marketing plans or customer rollouts, as part of their hospitality program. That could all be at risk too.”
Bill Evanina, a top US counterintelligence official, told USA Today in June that events like the games are a “great playground"’ for government intelligence services and criminals because of the "sheer number of devices.”
This kind of activity won’t be new to Brazil.
The US State Department’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) reports that annual losses related to cybersecurity and online fraud in Brazil reach billions of dollars, and, as Insight Crime notes, these illicit activities have grown more sophisticated in recent years.
“Brazil continues to rank as one of the most pervasive cybercrime environments worldwide,” the OSAC said earlier this year. “Brazilian cybercriminals have grown more brazen, stealing billions of dollars annually despite new legislation and official efforts to stop malicious activity online.”
Recent reports indicate that online criminal groups from other parts of the world are trying to link up with cyber criminals in Brazil, and with as many as 500,000 visitors expected to flood Brazil for the games, they may have plenty of targets.