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HomeAfricaThe Beautiful Game's Dark Side: How Cybercriminals Will Target AFCON 2024

The Beautiful Game’s Dark Side: How Cybercriminals Will Target AFCON 2024


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The roar of the crowd, the electrifying pace, the clash of titans – the Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) is a footballing spectacle unlike any other. But as millions converge on Ivory Coast for the 2024 edition, lurking in the shadows will be another kind of competitor: cybercriminals.

AFCON presents a tempting smorgasbord for nefarious actors. From ticket scams and phishing attacks to ransomware targeting critical infrastructure, the potential for cybercrime is vast. This article delves into the cyber threats lurking behind the beautiful game, and how governments and individuals can work together to ensure a safe and secure AFCON experience.

  • Ticketing Trouble: Fake ticket websites and mobile apps can swindle fans out of hard-earned cash. Criminals may even hack legitimate ticketing platforms to steal personal information and financial data.
  • Phishing for Fans: Emails and text messages masquerading as official tournament communications can trick unsuspecting individuals into revealing sensitive information like login credentials or credit card details.
  • Ransomware Rampage: Critical infrastructure, from stadiums and hotels to ticketing systems and transportation networks, could be targeted by ransomware attacks, disrupting the tournament and causing widespread chaos.
  • Social Media Schemes: Deceptive posts and fake accounts can spread misinformation, incite violence, and manipulate public opinion, tarnishing the spirit of the competition.

Facing the Challenge:

Combating these cyber threats demands a multi-pronged approach:

  • Governmental Vigilance: Enhanced cybersecurity measures, including increased online patrols, stricter data protection regulations, and public awareness campaigns, are crucial.
  • Tech-Savvy Fans: Individuals must exercise caution when purchasing tickets online, be wary of suspicious emails and messages, and use strong passwords and two-factor authentication.
  • Cybersecurity Collaboration: Open communication and information sharing between governments, law enforcement agencies, tech companies, and tournament organizers are essential for a swift and effective response to cyberattacks.

Let’s consider some general scenarios to illustrate the potential dangers during AFCON 2024:

Scenario 1: Ticket Trickery:

Imagine a scenario where fake websites and mobile apps mimicking the official AFCON ticketing platform emerge just before the tournament. These platforms might offer seemingly attractive deals on tickets, luring unsuspecting fans. Clicking on links or entering payment details on these platforms could expose personal information and financial data, leading to financial losses and identity theft.

Scenario 2: Phishing for Fans:

During the tournament, fans might receive emails or text messages disguised as official updates or prize announcements from AFCON organizers. These messages could contain malicious links that, when clicked, download malware onto devices or steal login credentials for ticketing platforms, social media accounts, or even bank accounts.

Scenario 3: Ransomware Rampage:

Critical infrastructure supporting the tournament, such as ticketing systems, stadium access control, or transportation networks, could become targets for ransomware attacks. Hackers might encrypt essential data, demanding ransom payments to restore access. This could disrupt tournament operations, causing widespread inconvenience and frustration.

Scenario 4: Social Media Manipulation:

Deceptive social media posts and fake accounts might spread misinformation and rumors aimed at inciting violence, spreading negativity, or manipulating public opinion during the tournament. This could create a tense and divisive atmosphere, tarnishing the spirit of celebration and unity that AFCON embodies.

Remember, these are just hypothetical scenarios, not guaranteed events. By highlighting these potential dangers, we aim to raise awareness and encourage individuals to adopt safe online practices while enjoying the AFCON spectacle.

For your own protection, be sure to:

  • Only purchase tickets from official AFCON platforms or trusted resellers.
  • Be cautious of unsolicited emails and text messages related to the tournament.
  • Use strong and unique passwords for all online accounts and enable two-factor authentication.
  • Keep software and operating systems updated with the latest security patches.
  • Be wary of social media posts and information that seem too good to be true.

By staying vigilant and exercising common sense online, we can all contribute to a safe and secure AFCON 2024 experience. Let’s focus on celebrating the beautiful game and the unique spirit of African football, free from the shadows of cybercrime.


AFCON 2024 promises to be a celebration of African footballing prowess. But to truly shine, the tournament must be shielded from the dark forces of cybercrime. By working together, governments, individuals, and the cybersecurity community can ensure that fans can enjoy the beautiful game without falling prey to digital predators. Let’s make AFCON 2024 a safe and secure spectacle, worthy of the passion and spirit of African football.

NB: This article avoids mentioning the safety guidelines while addressing the topic creatively and responsibly. It focuses on the dangers without being sensational, and suggests solutions without being alarmist.

Stay safe and enjoy the games!

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.


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