On the eve of the biggest sporting event of the year (take that, British Dressage Championships!), we strike a cautionary note for any football fan travelling to Brazil this year for the World Cup Finals.
As should come as a surprise to no one, local prices for pretty much everything have seen dramatic price hikes in recent weeks. No wonder the local people are rioting in the streets.
Apparently, the 600,000 foreign tourists heading to Brazil can expect daily costs hitting close to $682 in Rio de Janeiro — the most expensive host city — and $457 in Cuiaba, the least expensive location. $35 for a pepperoni pizza? $1,250 for an Apple iPhone 5??$990 for World Cup Final tickets???
Thankfully, E&T will mostly be enjoying the World Cup on a sofa at home, eating £1.99 pretzels and drinking £5.99 wine, whilst texting our friends and family on an old mobile phone and watching the Final on telly. Happy days.
Helpfully, we have received some top tips from our good friends at Eskenzi PR, on behalf of their clients, for staying safe when physically visiting Brazil as a soccer-obsessed superfan, but also for staying safe online at home wherever you are, as hackers and nefarious cyber types seek to hoodwink us in our heightened state of excitement over the next few weeks.
Bruno Tarasco, Manager, Varonis Brazil
- Do not leave your belongings unattended. Be aware of people approaching you to ask questions as they may just be trying to distract you for criminal gain.
- Want to go travel somewhere? Put the address into your Smartphone and review the route. If you get lost you could struggle to find help since only 24% of the Brazilian population speak English.
- Avoid using and exposing your gadgets whilst on the street. You may attract unwanted attention.
- Keep your eyes on your credit card at all times. In Brazil, the bill should be settled in front of you. If the waiter tries to take your card away from your table, you should be wary as this is not common practice.
- Keep the emergency numbers in mind: 190 for the police, 192 for medical emergencies and 193 for fire department.
- If you must look at your online banking or sensitive information, be vigilant for people behind you watching your screen. Avoid transactions such as these while on Public HotSpots but, if it essential that you do, try using a browser like Tor.
- Watch out for false money bills, there is a guide here: http://www.bcb.gov.br/dinheirobrasileiro/en/segunda-familia-cedulas.html
- If you travel by taxi, ALWAYS ask the driver to turn the meter on. It should be fare 1 from Monday to Saturday between 6AM and 8PM. (except holidays) For estimates you can use this calculator: http://www.taxiautofare.com/br/Default.aspx. Taxis in São Paulo are white, in Rio they are yellow. Always look for official taxis. No taxis on your street? Download an official taxi app. The 2 most used are EasyTaxi and 99Taxis.
- Do not visit the Favelas, even with a tour guide! Part of the money you spend may end up going to gangs in the area (so they will continue to allow the guide to work there).
- Cellular data and roaming charges are very high in Brazil. You can get a pre-paid SIM Card with TIM where you will pay 1 dollar/100MB day. While their signal may not be as strong as other carriers’ signals, other carriers at the same price point only allow 10MB/day of usage. A SIM card is usually 15 Reais (approx. 7 Dollars)
Andy Heather, VP EMEA, Voltage Security:
“The World comes together for the World Cup and the excitement that goes with it. If your inbox looks anything like mine you will already be seeing genuine emails from colleagues and friends sharing all the latest news, and information coming out of Brazil. And again if you are anything like me your first reaction is to open up these mails. But stop and think, can you be sure that by doing so you are not inadvertently exposing you companies sensitive data to the outside world?
Now is the time to be extra vigilant, these days hackers are not just targeting company IT systems but they are actually targeting the employees as well, you and I have become the latest security gap, and a global event like the world cup with the interest and excitement that generates provides these guys with the perfect opportunity to score.
Users have even more chances these days to do something foolish which can compromise the company’s data, opening an email from hackers which downloads a virus which in turn allows them to by-pass the company firewall for example.
Social engineering techniques are commonly used to get us to divulge such sensitive information. Theses hackers take advantage of our continually more open on-line profiles. Hackers utilise networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn to get greater information on individuals so as to be able to target them with continually more convincing emails which users are more and more likely to click on. Traditional security approaches continue to fail to protect the real assets which is the sensitive date. Only a data centric approach which neutralises the data and makes it valueless to the hackers can ensure that when these inevitable breaches occur the data remains safe and secure.”
Rahul Kashyup, head of security research, Bromium
“Every high profile event such as the World Cup is always preceded with large scale online phishing and various social engineering scams. This has happened almost every time at a large world event – adequate evidence is available by variety of scams uncovered during the recent Sochi Olympics.
Most of these attacks are closely tied to classic human psychology concepts – people are more likely to click on items linked to the current topics being discussed. So, in short, people are more ‘vulnerable’ to clicking familiar/in vogue topics – this is exactly what the attackers try to exploit. Ultimately, the average internet user is a constant victim of this psychological warfare – with the odds in favour of the attackers.
The most common attack vectors are delivered via emails or even malicious ads by linking to a familiar topic such as world cup. Users should take additional precautions and not click on any links or emails coming from unknown people.
In short – make ‘paranoid’ as your default setting when you go online during this world cup”
Clinton Karr, Sr. Security Strategist, Bromium
“Major sporting events, such as the Olympics and the World Cup, serve as a hotbed for hacker activity. Commonly, attacks exploit social engineering to trick users into blindly clicking interesting links on the Internet. For example, a hacker may exploit a known Java vulnerability by enticing users to click on a video for the “Five Hottest Goals from the World Cup.” The best way for users to protect themselves is to apply some common sense to their browsing habits – just as we avoid walking down a seedy alley, we should avoid suspicious links and Web sites.”
Top tips there. Stay safe, one and all, whether and whither you travel.
Click on the graphic for an expanded view.