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Phishing site posing as Olympic torch relay stream confirmed in Japan

This screenshot shows a phishing website disguised as a livestreaming service for the Tokyo Olympic torch relay in Saga Prefecture on May 10, 2021. When users click play, the site requests their personal information. (Mainichi)

KITAKYUSHU, Fukuoka -- With calls in Japan for people to watch the Tokyo Olympic torch relay online instead of in person amid a "fourth wave" of coronavirus infections, a phishing website disguised as a relay livestream has emerged, according to an investigative source speaking to the Mainichi Shimbun.

    The website in question features the name of the prefecture the torch is currently touring, and on May 10 it was titled "Torch Relay in Saga Prefecture (LIVE)." According to the source close to the investigation, the fake site appears among official ones when searched using keywords such as "torch relay live."

    When a user tries to watch the livestream, they are asked to create an account; they are then directed to a phishing site requesting personal information including credit card details. The entire website disappears each time a relay leg ends, and has apparently been confirmed to have appeared during multiple prefectures' hosting of the torch.

    Though no damages have been confirmed so far, from May 11 an increasing number of local communities are reportedly expected to suspend the relay on their public roads and instead hold torch ignition ceremonies or alternative relays, thereby creating greater possibility for people to fall victim if livestream demand rises.

    The Olympic torch relay can be watched from Japanese public broadcaster NHK's special website, which is also accessible from the Tokyo Games' official site. In the southwest Japan prefecture of Fukuoka, where the entire relay set for May 11 and 12 has been suspended and an ignition ceremony planned instead, the prefectural police's cybercrime division officers intend to patrol online and provide information on its official Twitter account as soon as it finds any fake websites.

    (Japanese original by Ken Nakazato, Kyushu News Department)

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