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By SecureWorld News Team
Thu | Mar 16, 2017 | 11:02 AM PDT

College basketball fans won't be the only ones focused on the games taking place over the next few weeks—cybercriminals will be watching too.

Security experts are advising that companies be on alert since March Madness games also traditionally fall during business hours, and as a result, plenty of office workers will be tuning in via their mobile devices and online to watch the action. This provides the perfect opportunity for cyberattackers to strike.

Dan Lohrmann, chief strategist and chief security officer (CSO) at Security Mentor, says, "Cybercriminals are well aware of the popularity of March Madness and are already preparing spear phishing emails to millions of college basketball fans, as well as non-basketball fans who are merely participating in the ever-popular office pools."

People should be cautious about downloading March Madness apps, since they may also deliver malware in the form of advertising. In addition, watch out for March Madness-related sites, as they can direct users to an infected site, which may trick them into giving out credit card numbers or other personal information.

"We can certainly still have fun at work if a local team is playing," Lohrmann says. But organizations should also take the time to re-emphasize cybersecurity policies and procedures, he adds.

Steve Durbin, Managing Director of the Information Security Forum, says:

“March Madness is upon us and with it comes a breeding ground for cyber criminals. Email infection, bogus betting websites and phishing attacks are all expected to take center stage (or courtside as the case may be). So what can you do to enjoy the next couple of weeks and keep yourself safe? Well, think before you click. Does the email look real? If it has an embedded link or attachment, those are the first things that should set off warning signals. Is this a site that you’ve seen before? It’s far better to use a well-known brand or one you or colleagues/friends/family have used in the past. Did you really place that bet and have you really scooped the pot? The number of “winners” over the next couple of weeks will be quite amazing; just be sure you’re on the correct side and don’t end up becoming another figure on the losing side.”

March Madness is supposed to be fun—just don't leave your security awareness on the sidelines!