Security experts are urging users to remain cautious online after seeing an uptick in Brexit-themed spam designed to trick recipients into downloading malware.
Cyber firm Digital Shadows told the Mail on Sunday that cyber-criminals are using classic social engineering techniques to create the kind of urgency among users that forces them into either clicking on a suspicious link or opening a malicious attachment.
That means jumping on the Brexit bandwagon and using its popularity at the moment to reel users in.
Subject lines might include “Brexit causes historic market drop,” the firm’s co-founder James Chappell explained.
“We advise all consumers to exercise caution,” he added. “Do not open attachments or click on links and delete this type of email straight away.”
It’s not the first time hackers have piggy-backed on popular current events in order to spread malware or trick users into divulging sensitive personal information.
Sporting tournaments are particularly popular for this purpose among the black hat community.
In 2014, for example, security experts identified numerous World Cup ticketing scams in which victims were sent emails containing malicious attachments masquerading as free tickets.
Interest in players like Neymar and Messi was also used as bait through email and social networking platforms.
Hackers have also extended their campaigns to the app sphere. Earlier this month Avast warned of a slew of Android apps on the official Google Play store designed to ape the popular FIFA app.
However, if downloaded, they contain limited functionality and will just bombard the user with ads.
The tactic will no doubt be in play again this summer ahead of the Rio Olympic Games.
As for Brexit, there have been concerns that leaving the European Union will make it harder for the UK to share threat intelligence with continental neighbors and recruit the best cybersecurity talent from abroad.
There are also fears that some large multi-nationals could start to move data out of the UK, potentially signalling job losses.