NBC News had an eye-opening report last night about privacy concerns in Sochi. Simply put, media, athletes, and visitors there shouldn’t expect any-but they should expect to be hacked almost immediately.
NBC’s Richard Engel was shown with a U.S. security expert opening and setting up two brand new computers. Almost immediately upon connecting to WiFi, both computer were infected with malware, and some had already begun transmitting his private data to a remote server. When he visited a coffee shop with a brand new phone, it too was hacked within minutes and infected with malware that monitored and recorded his phone calls. The situation is so bad, the State Department has issued a warning that no one attending the Olympic Games should have ANY expectation of privacy whatsoever.
It appears the Russian government themselves is responsible for this appalling behavior. They announced that the Russian FSB (the equivalent to the old KGB) will be monitoring all communications between athletes, journalists, coaches, staff, spectators and everyone else in Sochi. The surveillance program has been called “Prism on Steroids” by many.
There doesn’t seem to be any way to stop the intrusion. If you are going to Sochi, don’t rely on your antivirus software. Remove any information you don’t want compromised from your computer, and avoid doing any kind of online banking or eCommerce transactions. It’s not safe. Public WiFi should also be avoided. This is one Olympic host who is not going to be welcoming to visitors.
Watch [NBC News]