Got free World Cup tickets? It may just be a virus

World’s biggest anti-virus firm Symantec has warned Indians not to be tricked by new ‘World Cup’ themed viruses. The firm, which routinely monitors trends of how viruses and other ‘malware’ spread, said trick emails urging cricket fans to sign up for free World Cup tickets are best ignored.

“One scam that the Symantec Probe Network has detected involves a message inviting users to attend the final game of the World Cup 2011 in Mumbai. The invite offers multiple executive club facilities like a private table, a gourmet champagne brunch, and many more, for 10 guests. This may sound like an attractive deal; however, it is simply bait for cricket fans keen experience the thrill of the World Cup Final,” it warned in a statement.

The trick emails work by either planting a information-leaking virus on the user’s computer or by getting the user to fill in a form containing crucial details such as their name, date of birth etc.., which can then be used to access their bank accounts. Some of the tricksters’ websites may look like the Facebook or Orkut login page, Symantec warned.

“One phishing site spoofed a legitimate social networking site, claiming that entering login details would give users a chance to obtain free tickets,” it said, warning that the criminals are likely to employ “sneakier and more deceitful methods to steal your money, your identity and reputation” in the coming days. They may including phony emails, fraudulent websites, malicious email attachments and online ads, it warned.

It urged computer users not to open attractively titled emails from strangers or download attachments from them.

“Don’t respond to emails that offers you attractive and free deals, unless you are confident that the offer is from an authentic source and well-known brand. Never respond to emails that announce prizes you supposedly won in sweepstakes and other competitions you never participated in. Never give out your personal information and bank account credentials in response to any mail.”