Cybercriminals are likely to make use of long awaited global events such as the World Cup in Brazil, Tour de France and the Winter Olympics, to conduct cyberattacks in 2014, a statement from Sheffield’s Business Crime Reduction Centre (BCRC) has warned.

The warning comes as Sheffield is preparing to host a part of the Tour de France event for the first time. According to BCRC, which works in collaboration with the People United Against Crime charity from Yorkshire, it is important that people and businesses are aware of the dangers that could accompany those events.

People could become a target for e-mail spam that will attempt to sell cheap flights or event tickets, while in reality their only purpose is to steal sensitive personal data and perform an identity theft, Lucy Straker said on behalf of the BCRC.

Other threats that are also likely to increase in 2014 are malicious smartphone application usage, data leaks from gaming consoles and smart TVs, mandate fraud and hacks in telephone systems.

However, there is good news for this year when it comes to cyberattacks. People and businesses will receive support in order for the BCRC to prevent such threats, which will come in the form of training events that will raise awareness of cybercriminal activity. It will also advise many businesses across Humberside and Yorkshire on how to protect their online premises against such threats.

The BCRC, which is also collaborating with South Yorkshire, North Yorkshire, West Yorkshire and Humberside Police forces, is partially financed by the European Union through the Yorkshire and Humber European Regional Development.