March Madness Means More Malware, AVG Offers Helpful Security Tips

March Madness Computer Security

March Madness is the best time of the year for college basketball fans. Unfortunately, the popular month in sports is also prime real estate for computer hackers, specifically for malware and phishing attempts.

AVG monitors virus scan and phishing services for more than 146 million active users, and that base has helped the company put together a list of helpful tips for March Madness.

According to AVG March is the perfect time of the month to actively monitor your computer for scams, viruses and more. The company warns that fake sports betting websites and other scams of that type of commonplace during March Madness.

Here are a few methods AVG has pinpointed from hacker efforts:

  • Spamdexing – Designed to elevate fraudulent websites to the first page of search results. Cybercriminals manipulate search engines by using repeated unrelated phrases or optimizing a webpage around one topic to dupe visitors into downloading virus-infected brackets, encouraging them to register and collecting identity details in the process.
  • Phishing – Cybercriminals send out e-mails suggesting recipients register now to put in their playoff predictions. They deploy clever tactics to direct fans to places where they can steal personal details. They may even suggest using a Facebook login to register, giving them access to this very valuable piece of a person’s identity.

So how can users win the game of cat and mouse played by hackers? AVG suggested that only trusted sources be visited for everything from online betting to simply printing out division brackets and other information.

AVG also notes that deals which seem to good to be true are likely too good to be true. If a website looks suspicious, you should leave it right away.


Emails should almost be avoided completely. While more company’s are moving towards DMARC services to avoid email spoofing, that technology still has a long way to go.

Finally, AVG suggests typing in web addresses manually instead of clicking on links, which may not actually go to the URL address they have listed.

Do you have any of your own March Madness tips for avoiding internet scams including viruses, malware, and other hacking attempts?