Symantec warns of hike in World Cup spam

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Junk email based on the tournament rises by 27 percent.

Symantec has joined the chorus of voices warning users to brace for a surge in spam centred around the upcoming World Cup in South Africa.

Unsolicited email using the tournament as a lure has risen by around 27 percent in the past month, according to new statistics posted on the security firm's Net Threats 2010 site.

Internet users were warned to expect a range of spam, including offers of counterfeit tickets, malware embedded in fake highlights videos and bogus FIFA product offers.

"We first observed FIFA-related scams way back in 2005 when South Africa was announced as the 2010 host country. However, the message volume during the last couple of months has shot up," wrote Symantec security response lead Samir Patil.

"Not surprisingly, 419 scam messages stand out as major contributors and, with kick-off around the corner, we expect all spam volumes related to the World Cup to grow."

Trend Micro observed similar trends last month, warning users of 419-style spam runs using the tournament as bait.

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