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Going to the Sochi Olympics? Be Prepared to Have Every Gadget You Own Hacked

Posted on Feb 6, 2014

@N3T1O (CC BY 2.0)

An experiment run by an NBC Nightly News foreign correspondent showed that laptops, smartphones, tablets, you name it, are all being hacked within seconds of entering Sochi. As soon as he connected to a public Wi-Fi network, the reporter’s privacy was jeopardized. And although it means people traveling to Russia for the Olympics should be aware that their information will get hacked, design and technology site Gizmodo points out that anyone can get hacked anywhere on earth, especially when connecting to public Wi-Fi.

One would also add that although the risk of getting hacked while in Sochi is high, the NSA pretty much has the rest of the world covered.


Say you’re going to Sochi for the Winter Olympics. You’ve magically found a hotel that’s actually complete and not full of trash and construction equipment. Crisis averted, right? Not quite—because as NBC Nightly News’ experiment shows, your computer or smartphone could be hacked in seconds in Sochi. Hackers will be going after your computer or smartphone from the minute you land…[NBC’s Richard Engel’s devices were hacked] it wasn’t just a one-time fluke—every device Engel brought was seemingly hacked.

Now, to be fair, public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously dangerous; that’s true in every village around the world, Olympic or otherwise. But it’s just the latest in a whole slew of increasingly bad news coming out of Russia…Compounding the problem is Russia’s reputation as being home to some of the most prolific hackers. You’d think, with all the world watching, Russia would do something to try not to live up to that bad rap.

Of course, whether you’re traveling to Sochi or Scranton, there are things you should absolutely do to keep your data safe when using public networks. But if you do happen to be heading to the Olympics, maybe keep your internet and smartphone use to an absolute minimum.

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—Posted by Natasha Hakimi

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