The World Cup could provide virus authors with a great excuse to get creative, and IT managers must encourage staff to be extra vigilant, experts have warned.
Antivirus company Sophos insisted that companies should be careful of seemingly harmless World Cup screensavers, spreadsheets and electronic wall charts.
Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant, at Sophos, said: "Millions of people worldwide will be following the World Cup and will be using the internet and email to keep up to date with all the action.
"We have already seen viruses using the popularity of celebrities like Anna Kournikova and Britney Spears. David Beckham or Michael Owen could be next.
"Amid the enthusiasm for the competition, it's important that users maintain a solid defence [against unsolicited mail]."
World Cup viruses are not without precedent, Cluley warned.
"In 1998, in the run-up to the competition in France, the WM97/ZMK-J virus asked infected victims to gamble on who the winner might be," he said.
"If the user did not choose the right team, they triggered a warhead which was capable of wiping all the data off the hard drive."
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