If you’re a football junkie, you might want to take steps to protect yourself on the internet. With the return of football in the American arenas after the devastating closure due to coronavirus, fans are going all-in with their favorite sport, from home.

While this sounds fun and exciting, it also brings in a ton of opportunities for the cyber criminals trying to take advantage of the fans, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warns.

This week will kick off Premier League and Championship games ever since COVID-19 has paved the way for a new lifestyle, sadly, the only way to watch these games will be from either on television or online streaming.

While some games will be available on free-to-view services, many other sources will require a subscription or an account of some sort. This is what NCSC has warned viewers about. Due to a large volume of online traffic and subscriptions to watch the football games, it is clear that hackers will exploit this opportunity for their own gains.

The user information is at a major risk. It can be used by hackers to simply login and watch the game for free using someone else’s login credentials OR it can be used as a step to a bigger cyber crime including stealing information to send malicious email, log in to people’s banking apps and more. Based on our knowledge on what hacking really leads to, it’s safe to assume that there’s a bigger picture behind this all.

The NCSC has however warned the subscribers and supporters to secure their accounts by suggesting to change their passwords to more complicated one’s. The most common passwords are normally the names of favorite teams or players. It’s highly recommended that users replace these passwords with something that cannot be easily guessed.

The return of the Premier League is a moment that the nation has been looking forward to, and we want football fans to enjoy it in the safest way possible. Without the option of watching football matches at the pub or in person, it’s fantastic that technology can bridge the gap and allow thousands of fans to watch their team from their own living room,” said Ciaran Martin, NCSC Chief Executive Officer.

We would strongly recommend fans check out the government’s Cyber Aware campaign to ensure they have as safe a streaming experience as possible,” he added.

The NSCS also recommends users to download the latest software updates the risk can be minimized, as most security updates deliver potential fixes for issues

Completely eliminating the risk of cyber attacks is not in the hands of a football fan, but making it extremely difficult for an attacker to get through is.

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