Public events are fun, especially if it is a live match of your favorite soccer club, your favorite celebrity concert, or a conference being conducted by your favorite motivational speaker. Amidst the fun, however, there are security issues that surround these public events that you should be wary of. Criminals know that such events get people excited and thus relax and forget to be vigilant. It is when you are most vulnerable that they will attack. Let us look at some security issues when attending these events.
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1. Malicious websites and phishing emails
Before an event takes place, organizers run campaigns online in order to have as many audiences as possible to hear about it. Cybercriminals use such an opportunity to create websites almost similar to the genuine one. They also start sending phishing emails with information related to the event. They do this to lure unsuspecting individuals to those fraudulent sites. If you click on such a website or open the email, the data on your device becomes vulnerable to these criminals. Be careful on the sites that you click, ensure that you verify the genuine website that the organizers are using. You can use the organizer’s verified social media pages or TV adverts of the event to countercheck the website information before clicking on any site.
2. Fake ticketing
With events becoming digitalized on all aspects, ticketing has been taken to online platforms by most event organizers. Cybercriminals are capitalizing on this for financial gain; they create fake ticket generation sites. If you happen to buy a ticket from such a site, you do not only get a fake ticket but your credit card information falls into their hands. Before you buy a ticket online, it is important you ensure that you are doing it on a genuine site. If you realize that the registration process is complicated and asking for a lot of your private information, you probably are dealing with a criminal. It is good that you abandon the purchase rather than risk leaking your privacy to malicious people.
3. Data leakage when using public Wi-Fi
It is not a new thing to find event organizers offering public WI-FI during public events to attendees. Attend any league ballpark, a concert, or a large-capacity stadium event and there will be free Wi-Fi at your disposal. While it offers you an opportunity to check your email or visit your social media pages for free, it also poses a risk to the sensitive information on your mobile phone. Anyone connecting the free network can easily eavesdrop on what you are doing online without you suspecting. Protect your privacy when using free Wi-Fi during the event using a VPN.
What is a VPN? Well, VPN or Virtue Private Network is a private network that helps your personal information and online activity stay private. That means that when you connect to a free Wi-Fi using a VPN, the data leaving your phone will be encrypted and no outsider will be able to track it.
4. Compromised ATMs
Cybercriminals look for any loophole to cash in on getting financial information of their potential victims. Such loopholes are the ATMs at the stadium. If the IT team of the stadium management is not keen on the safety of these machines, keyloggers or credit card skimmers can easily tamper with them, causing a security issue on attendees’ financial information. It is wise to avoid using stadium ATMs during a large public event.
5. Fake hotspots
When an event organizer provides free Wi-Fi, almost every attendee will be having the Wi-Fi in his or her devices turned on- including you. This means that your phone can connect to any device if you are not keenly monitoring the networks that you are connecting to. In addition, just as cybercriminals create fraudulent sites, they also create fake hotspots with a name almost similar to the genuine one. You can easily connect to this hotspot as well if you are not careful or if you leave the Wi-Fi on your phone on when you are done using it. Make it a habit to turn the Wi-Fi on your phone off when you are not using it during public events.
Given the size of the crowds in a public event, security threats can easily go unnoticed by the officials. That is why you should take it upon yourself to be careful and stay vigilant during the event to keep yourself safe from such threats.