With the growing popularity of social media, world events, and pop culture, it’s no surprise that cybercriminals and hackers are flocking to these platforms to exploit unsuspecting victims. From the recent Barbie movie to the Super Bowl, cyber criminals will do whatever it takes to gain access to our personal information.
According to a recent USA Today article and McAfee report, “McAfee found that in the three weeks leading up to the record-breaking opening last weekend, there were at least 100 new instances of malware with Barbie-related filenames, many of them deployed in an effort to hack into unwitting victims’ computers and phones.”
But why do criminals focus on these events, trends, and fads?
- Large Audience
One of the main reasons why cybercriminals and hackers focus on popular events is due to the large audience that these events attract. For example, the Super Bowl attracts millions of people worldwide, providing cybercriminals with a huge pool of potential victims. This means that the chances of them successfully carrying out a cyberattack are much higher when they focus on popular events. The recent release of the Barbie movie broke box office records for the year and social media feeds were packed with moviegoers blinged out in head-to-toe pink and accessories.
2. Emotional Attachment
Another reason why cybercriminals and hackers focus on popular events is because of the emotional attachment that people have toward them. For instance, when the Barbie movie was released, many individuals were excited to watch it and share their experiences on social media platforms. Cybercriminals and hackers often use this emotional attachment to lure people into clicking on malicious links, fake websites, or downloading harmful files.
3. Easy Targeting
Most popular events involve social media platforms and hashtags, which cybercriminals can easily monitor and track. They can use these platforms to identify their victims and launch targeted attacks that are likely to be successful. As a result, popular events make it easier for cybercriminals and hackers to identify and target their victims.
4. Popularity Equals Opportunity
Popularity equals opportunity for cybercriminals, as it provides them with a larger pool of potential victims and the opportunity to create a more significant impact. For example, when large events such as the Olympics or World Cup are held, cybercriminals see an opportunity to launch targeted attacks against individuals and organizations, such as sponsors or broadcasters. The Barbie movie release was a series of small “large events” around the world where current first-release movies were shown.
5. Lack of Cybersecurity
Another reason why cybercriminals and hackers focus on popular events is because of the lack of cybersecurity awareness among the general public. Many individuals are unaware of the dangers of opening unknown links, sharing personal information online, or downloading files from unverified sources. This makes them easy targets for cybercriminals and hackers.
With these offenders constantly looking for new ways to exploit victims, it’s important that we remain vigilant and take steps to protect ourselves. By being cautious about the links we click on, not sharing personal information online, and using strong passwords, we can reduce the risk of falling victim to cyberattacks.
Cybersecurity awareness is key, especially during popular events, where cyber criminals and hackers are looking for opportunities to exploit unsuspecting victims. Let’s stay safe and protect ourselves against cybercrime. If you would like to learn how you can make your company’s cyber program more innovative, interesting, and engaging, please reach out to us to learn how we drive innovation in this space!