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Premier League fans warned against nasty hack attacks -- what to do

premier league scam
(Image credit: MDI / Shutterstock.com)

The English Premier League is back on the field, and soccer fans have been told to secure their streaming accounts and subscriptions because online crooks may target them in all the excitement.

The UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) warned today (June 17) that crooks may attempt to gain access to accounts by guessing obvious or previously compromised passwords.

Last year, the NCSC discovered that nearly 700,000 accounts of all types had been compromised when hackers guessed simple or obvious passwords, which included names of Premier League teams such as 'liverpool' (280,723), 'chelsea' (216,667), 'arsenal' (179,095), 'manutd' (59,440) and 'everton' (46,619).

When hackers gain access to sports-streaming platforms, they may watch games, make purchases and use personal information in future scams.

The NCSC said users can secure their accounts by taking some basic steps, such as creating a new password formed of three random words (one of the best password managers may be helpful) and ensuring streaming apps are up-to-date before logging on to a Premier League live stream.

 It also makes  the following recommendations:  

  • Refreshing accounts: It’s a great time for fans to consider resetting their passwords, as hackers use credentials stolen in past security incidents to hijack streaming accounts using the same compromised details. If you’re using the same password for your sports streaming accounts that you’ve used multiple times in the past – it’s time for a reset.
  • Setting a strong password: Use a password that’s separate to your email password and made up of three random words. You can then save this strong password in the browser so you don’t have to worry about remembering it.
  • Updating streaming apps: Cyber criminals exploit weaknesses in apps to access your sensitive personal data. Providers regularly issue patches to these exploits in updates – you’re vulnerable without them. Consider automatic updates, too.

Football-mad scammers

NCSC chief executive officer Ciaran Martin said: “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.

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

  • Read more: Stay safe online when you watch with the best streaming VPN