The minute you get off the plane in Russia, your electronic devices are pretty much guaranteed to get hacked during your stay for the Sochi Olympics, according to a report by NBC Nightly News.
Reporter Richard Engel, with the help from one of the top American security experts, conducted an experiment to see how dangerous of a threat hacking will be for visitors at the Olympics, and the conclusion was “It is not a matter of if, but when.”
Through Engel’s experiment, he turned on two laptops filled with fake contact lists and a false identity for himself. Within 24 hours of powering up the computers, both of them were infiltrated, exposing what would have been his personal information, along with anyone else’s on his email lists. Shortly after landing in Moscow, Engel also used a cellphone to search for information regarding the Olympics. After browsing the internet for a few short minutes, a “downloading” tab showed up, and without even realizing, malware was being downloaded into his phone. Hackers could then not only search through anything on his phone, but also had the option to listen and record any phone calls he made. Watch the full experiment here.
The U.S. State Department says visitors should have zero expectation of privacy, even in their own hotel rooms.
Kaspersky Labs is the Russian company that is supposed to be in charge of security for the Olympics, but they say that visitors are bringing so many devices, it is impossible to shield all of them.
NBC News Nightly says the only way to ensure that you will not get hacked is by not even bringing any sort of electronic device that can connect to the internet, which is highly unlikely for anyone to do. We’re constantly connected, and it’ll be exceptionally difficult for the majority of visitors to resist using the internet on their personal phones and computers. So if you do use these things, be sure to clear any apps that hold your personal information, which is pretty much all of them.
Good luck, travelers!