Spam on the increase ahead of World Cup

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Spam centred on the FIFA 2010 World Cup has soared by around 27% according to IT security specialist, Symantec. To date, the company has identified numerous scams, phishing and malicious attachment spam related to the world’s largest sporting event.

Comments Symantec’s Samir Patil: “Not surprisingly, 419-scam messages stand out as major contributors and with kick-off literally around the corner, we expect all spam volumes related to the World Cup to grow.”

Online users can expect to receive many variations of spam types, with offers of fake game tickets, malware distribution via fake videos purportedly showing highlights of the games and fake FIFA product offers.

“We first observed FIFA-related scams way back in 2005 when South Africa was announced as the 2010 FIFA World Cup host country. However, the message volume during the last couple of months has shot up,” Patil says.


While tracking the prevalence of FIFA spam, Symantec analysed the spam corpus for certain obvious words being used in various parts of the e-mail (headers, body or obfuscation text) such as “FIFA 2010”, “2010 FIFA”, “Football World Cup”, and “FIFA World Cup”.

“We found a definite month-to-month rising trend, as shown in the graph below. Compared to the World Cup spam volume in April, the data up to May 25th shows an increase of approximately 27%,” Patil says.