The London Olympics will generate an estimated £4.5 billion for the city while inspiring the world. That’s good. But the three-week extravaganza is also sure to profit criminals while attracting general mayhem. That’s bad.
Whether you’ll be traveling to the UK to cheer on the Olympians in person or lending your support to the games via the web from afar, here are some tips on how to stay safe and secure:
Being safe online:
- Be wary of cyberthieves using the Olympics to dupe you out of your hard-earned cash. Scotland Yard is doing its best to shut down fake Olympic tickets sites and other online scams, but to avoid being exploited, only purchase tickets from London’s official Olympic website.
- Watch out for malicious malware disguised as links to free or discounted Olympics merchandize, news or videos. Install and regularly update your anti-virus software and linkscanning protection on all web-enabled devices.
- Don’t input credit card info on any site unless it is considered well-known and trustworthy. Pay particular attention to the URL: https:// shows the site is secure; http:// (without the ‘s’) does not.
Being safe at the games:
- Install lock, wipe and locate software on your smartphones and mobile devices. And make sure your devices are password protected—opt for an alphanumeric mix with special characters in upper and lower cases. If your device is missing, and you’re sure it was stolen and not merely left behind, don’t try to use the tracking function to pinpoint and confront your thief.
- Consider putting a block on international calls and data roaming to avoid massive long distance and data charges not covered by domestic carrier plans should a thief manage to steal your phone and break your password. Make a note of your smartphone manufacturer’s emergency phone line so you can call them to have your phone immobilized in the event of a loss.
- Be mindful of your surroundings and who might be looking over your shoulder while you’re in front of a laptop or ATM.
- Don’t connect to free public Wi-Fi unless it is advertised at your location. If you don’t know where your connection comes from, then you don’t know what you are connecting to.
- Never access your online banking details, make electronic purchases, or enter ANY personally identifiable information (including your address) from a shared, public computer. The same goes even when you’re using trusted, public Wi-Fi.
And remember, the best defense is common sense. Be wary of any and all strangers and unknown entities both online and off, and let the games begin!
My next post will come from the “Czech House” in London, where AVG will host reporters, bloggers and Olympians with food, conversation, and a free performance by the Czech funk band Monkey Business.