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Cybercriminals Preying on March Madness 2023 Frenzy, Distraction

One slip-up on an employee's personal device could trigger a corporate data breach.

Edward Gately

March 16, 2023

6 Slides

March Madness 2023, which kicked off Thursday, provides the perfect opportunity for cybercriminals to take advantage of distracted fans both during and after work.

March Madness is one of the most watched and anticipated sporting events every year in the United States. Games averaged 10.7 million viewers in 2022.

It’s also the only major sporting event in the United States that traditionally falls during business hours. And those who participate in viewing and playing in their office pools are susceptible to a variety of security threats, especially phishing lures. The same goes for those who utilize online sportsbooks taking bets on the games.

Cybersecurity experts say March Madness fans should keep up their guard throughout the event.

JT Keating is senior vice president of strategic initiatives at Zimperium.

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Zimperium’s JT Keating

“March Madness is a cultural phenomenon here in the United States that brings together people to participate in office pools, online gambling and more,” he said. “While the distractions and the substantial bandwidth strains associated with following the annual NCAA tournament can damage organizations, mobile security threats have proven to be a more dangerous issue that organizations of all sizes should be particularly wary about.”

Mobile phishing attacks are on the rise. According to the 2022 Global Mobile Threat report, mobile-specific phishing sites grew by 50% over a three-year period. By 2021, three-quarters (75%) of phishing sites were specifically targeting mobile users. Moreover, two-thirds (66%) of mobile phones used at work are employee-owned, creating a challenging environment for security teams to protect.

Scroll through our slideshow above for more March Madness 2023-associated cyber threats.

Want to contact the author directly about this story? Have ideas for a follow-up article? Email Edward Gately or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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About the Author(s)

Edward Gately

Senior News Editor, Channel Futures

As news editor, Edward Gately covers cybersecurity, new channel programs and program changes, M&A and other IT channel trends. Prior to Informa, he spent 26 years as a newspaper journalist in Texas, Louisiana and Arizona.

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