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Free, Open Wi-Fi At Super Bowl 50 Creates Likelihood Of Cyber Threats

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) -- The free high-speed wireless Internet at Super Bowl 50 events are "very likely" to attract significant cyber threats for Super Bowl 50 fans, according to the FBI's cyber threat assessment.

An FBI document obtained by KPIX 5 warns that the cyber threats are likely to result from open Wi-Fi networks at the events.

While no criminal cyber operations targeting Super Bowl 50 have been identified by law enforcement, the FBI in collaboration with the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC), maintains that cyber criminals are to be expected.

The FBI states that the cyber criminals are likely to use spear phishing techniques and website compromises to gain private information from individuals' mobile devices at the Super Bowl 50 events.

While the FBI cyber threat assessment doesn't identify criminal operations, it does state that there is "high confidence based on passed behavior by cyber criminals during major sporting events" that cyber attacks will occur.

Leading up to last year's Super Bowl, victims lost money and gave up personal information after falling for online ticket and lodging scams.

Those who are financially-motivated are likely to try to use point of sale malware, ransomware or extortion tactics against websites or social media channels broadcasting Super Bowl events, according to the FBI documents.

The FBI is concerned hackers will be able to intercept mobile transactions or introduce malware to people's phones via the public WiFi networks.

But former FBI agent and KPIX 5 security analyst Jeff Harp says the threat of exposing personal information at the game or related events isn't the only digital dilemma for Super Bowl fans.

Harp said anyone making purchases at the stadium with a credit or debit card could potentially have their information intercepted as well.

But the FBI assessment suggests that such attacks are inevitable.

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