When the World Cup kicked-off earlier this month, so did a wave of internet security threats.

Malicious emails and phishing scams are deliberately designed to exploit sporting fans, according to Websense manager Joel Camissar.

"[Their] techniques are designed to lure people after tickets, merchandise or other memorabilia into their scams... we're already seeing the World Cup being used as a vehicle by online fraudsters," he said.

It is a slight change in online threats from the usual money-driven scams, run by highly organised criminals.

"A recent email scam in Japan, run by the Russian Mafia, offered access to premium World Cup tickets for $7.42 via a website. It was a hugely successful phishing scam that trapped a lot of people," Camissar said.

He also warned of another World Cup email scam that offers a wall chart of the event which, when executed, infects the user with a Trojan. To minimise risk, Camissar recommends individuals ensure they run the latest antivirus signatures, update firewalls, antispyware programs and install recent operating-system patches.

He said businesses should ensure the same and also connect filtering software on web gateways to block non-reputable sites.

"But most important is education; ensure you and your employees are aware of malicious threats and preventative measures and see to it that they report anything they see as a risk," he said.