Data Hacking at the Olympics

February 6th, 2014 by Alex Bach


Written by Alex Bach

NBC’s Richard Engle, covering the 2014 Winter Games held in Sochi, Russia, recently came out with a report on the level of data security in Russia.  That is, on the lack of data security in Russia.  It appears as if the Olympic Games aren’t just for athletes to strut their stuff but for hackers, as well.

Data security is precious information and it’s loss can leave you open to identity theft. Find out how you can help protect yourself and your data.

Into the Lion’s Den

As the investigation into the massive data breach of both Target and Neiman Marcus continues, we’ve learned that, so far, the biggest culprit appears to Russian hackers. Investigators say they believe the malware used to infiltrate the two major retailers was designed by Russian teenagers and disseminated or sold off to other Russian hackers. These Russian hackers are some of the best in the biz, so to speak.

And now we’re heading there en masse for the Winter Games, bringing our laptops, iPads, phones and other data sensitive equipment like a juicy lamb right into the lion’s den.

How Do We Know?

NBC’s Richard Engle, assisted by a computer security expert, set up an experiment. Loading a brand new phone and laptop with fake information, baiting the hackers, they waited to see how long it would take before the integrity of both was breached. It did not take long. Not only was Engle’s phone hacked within minutes, but the hackers then had the option to tap his phone whenever they wished.

Security in Sochi has been beefed up to account for physical attacks such as an act of terrorism–especially since the recent attacks in the Caucuses and the general global terror climate. Putin has ordered about 37,000  guards to hold Sochi and it’s guest in it’s Steel Ring of protection. But those security personnel are only on the lookout for physical security threats, there is nothing in place to protect against data security threats.

What Should I Do?

If you’re traveling to Sochi and don’t have any advanced security measures in place on your phone or computer, don’t bring them. This is not always possible, however. If you have to bring something, either buy a disposable phone meant only for the winter games and storing a few phone numbers, or else back-up and dump all sensitive material from your phone.

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