Football’s 2010 World Cup has done much to dispel international perceptions of South Africa as a crime-ridden society with few serious incidents being reported. The South African Police Service (SAPS) has warned, however, of an alarming spike in pickpocketing in and around match venues.
This poses a real threat to travelling football fans faced with the task of cancelling credit cards, replacing travellers cheques, sourcing temporary identity documents and losing their prized match tickets.
While all the above are problematic for the traveller, they can be resolved with a little effort. Unfortunately, mobile telephones are highly prized by the criminal fraternity in South Africa and they’re a magnet for pickpockets and other petty thieves.
Comments Symantec’s Candid Wueest: “World Cup 2010 has seen an unprecedented rise in social networking, much of it via mobile phones and it is clear that many football fans are relying on these devices for online news and to stay connected.
“Worryingly, many fans also store important personal and business information on their smart phones, which in the hands of criminals can lead to financial losses far heavier than those incurred when replacing the device.”
While the main protection against this type of data loss is for users to ensure they never lose sight of their mobiles, fans should take advantage of the limited protection offered by using intelligent passwords.
Amazingly, a 2009 BBC survey showed that only six out of 10 people password protect their phone and nearly a quarter of those surveyed said they stored PIN numbers and passwords on their phones!
Says Wueest: “Unfortunately, passwords have been known to be bypassed and even the encryption that is offered on the newer devices is not entirely secure. Personal vigilance remains the best protection.”
He adds that many fans are storing mementos of their World Cup experiences, including videos and photographs, on their mobiles, which are irreplaceable if the device is stolen or lost.
“Football fans are advised to back-up new data, photos and videos to a secure PC regularly.”