SOURCE: BitDefender

BitDefender

March 15, 2010 08:59 ET

Don't Bet Your Identity on Raking in the Cash During March Madness This Year

BitDefender Warns of Identity Theft, Cash Losses Among the Dangers Associated With Online Gambling

BUCHAREST, ROMANIA--(Marketwire - March 15, 2010) - BitDefender®, an award-winning provider of innovative anti-malware security solutions, today cautioned those looking to place bets on this year's NCAA Basketball tournament to be aware of increased security risks associated with online gambling, especially during March Madness.

The excitement of wagering on a favorite team, and the potential for easy money, can take more than just cash from casual fans. Those that aren't familiar with the laws surrounding online gambling represent an especially convenient opportunity for e-criminals to steal personal data and compromise systems.

"Just because online gambling is illegal in the US doesn't mean it's not happening. Betting on March Madness has evolved beyond casual office pools and moved online," said Catalin Cosoi, BitDefender Senior Researcher. "Online gambling exists in a murky grey area and casual gamblers can easily become victim to different types of cybercrimes -- of which money and identity thefts are the most common."

Entertainment and greed are two of the most stable and prolific attack vectors that e-criminals employ to compromise or take control of computers and data. Watch out for the following:

-- Unsolicited messages and ads for online casinos which have been surging since late February. The most basic threats are still the most profitable for spammers and phishers, and they know where the money is this time of year.

-- Websites that simulate online casinos: These malicious sites prompt users to install software and instead spread Trojans or install key loggers and malware that steals data.

Attacks on personal computers aren't the only concern when placing bets online. Online gambling involves credit card details and other sensitive information stored on websites operating outside US jurisdiction, and especially in countries like Costa Rica, Antigua and Barbuda, Antilles and the Republic of Mauritius. Federal Wire Act and supplementary legislation prohibit Internet gambling in the United States.

"In addition to the legal implications, users scrutinizing the Internet for wagering sites expose themselves to skyrocketing security risks," added Cosoi. "We strongly advise users to be extremely careful with their data and stay away from any link they received in a spam message advertising online gambling products and services."

BitDefender offers the following additional tips to keep computers, money and personal information safe:

-- Install and activate a reliable antimalware solution, such as those provided by BitDefender.

-- Update your antimalware, firewall and spam filter as frequently as possible, with the latest virus definitions and suspicious application/file signatures.

-- Scan your system frequently.

-- Don't open e-mails from unknown sources.

-- Don't download/open attachments you received in e-mail spam.

To stay up-to-date on the latest e-threats, sign-up for BitDefender's RSS feeds here.

About BitDefender®

BitDefender is the creator of one of the industry's fastest and most effective lines of internationally certified security software. Since its inception in 2001, BitDefender has continued to raise the bar and set new standards in proactive threat prevention, emerging as the industry's anti-malware innovator. Every day, BitDefender protects tens of millions of home and corporate users across the globe -- giving them the peace of mind of knowing that their digital experiences will be secure. BitDefender solutions are distributed by a global network of value-added distribution and reseller partners in more than 100 countries worldwide. More information about BitDefender and its products are available at the company's security solutions press room. Additionally, BitDefender's www.malwarecity.com provides background and the latest updates on security threats helping users stay informed in the everyday battle against malware.

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