Premier League is back, after over 100 days without football. True to English Premier League’s style, the first day was a fair bit of entertainment, with a clear goal disallowed for Sheffield United despite having goal-line technology, and Manchester City stomping their way to a 3-0 defeat of Arsenal. While all this is mighty exciting for football-starved fans, the United Kingdom National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has underlined a new aspect that all fans eagerly tuning in to Premier League telecasts from various streams need to be aware of – cyber crime.
Urging people to “avoid scoring a cyber own goal”, the UK NCSC said Wednesday that the return of football broadcast streams may lead to increased cyber criminal activity in a bid to steal passwords, hack in to user accounts and conduct cyber theft, phishing attacks, ransomware, identity thefts and so on. The British cyber security watchdog has further stated that over 700,000 user accounts were previously compromised in one way or another, due to the use of weak or redundant passwords, failure to detect scams, and falling for cyber traps. The body expects this activity to repeat itself now as well, as more individuals are presently stuck at home in quarantine, and are hence likelier to join in on live streams of matches from numerous sources.
While the advisory is largely centred around viewers in the UK, given the popularity of the Premier League, the general advice would be applicable anywhere in the world. The UK NCSC’s press statement reads, “Hackers could make unauthorised purchases on the platform or look to find personal information that could be used for further scams – including targeting them with scam emails or phone calls.
“The NCSC has urged fans to take some basic steps, which form part of the NCSC’s Cyber Aware behaviours, to keep their accounts secure. This includes creating a password that is made of three random words, and ensuring you download the latest update for apps on devices streaming the games.”
With the Premier League being streamed live on Disney+ Hotstar in India, users are advised to update their account passwords, and ensure that their Hotstar apps, be it on phones, tablets or TVs, are updated to the latest version available. New app updates are likely to have most recent security patches, which makes it important in order to steer clear of cyber threats.