Larry Magid: Olympics In Russia A Hot Spot For Hackers

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The Olympic Cauldron is tested by fire crews at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Park in the Costal Cluster on January 27, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

The Olympic Cauldron is tested by fire crews at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Park in the Costal Cluster on January 27, 2014 in Sochi, Russia. (Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images)

LarryMagid01-228 Larry Magid
Larry Magid is a technology journalist and an Internet safe...
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SAN FRANCISCO (KCBS) — As people from all over the world are gathering in Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics to watch top athletes, it is also apparently a gathering spot for hackers. There are reports that people are being hacked the second they log onto a Russian network.

I can think back to when I went to a network security convention this past summer in Las Vegas called Black Hat. When I turned on my laptop, there was a Wi-Fi network that had almost the same name as mine, but it wasn’t.

Somebody saw my network and set up one that is almost identical in hopes that I would have logged on to theirs. If I had, they would have essentially owned my computer.

When I was in the former Soviet republic of Azerbaijan for the Internet Governance Forum, one of the officials from the European Commission said that her computer had been hacked and I certainly saw some suspicious activity on mine. I couldn’t prove anything, but it was clearly reason to make me nervous.

I think anytime you are in Russia, as I have been, there’s reason for concern. But especially around the time of the Olympics when hackers know there are a lot of foreigners coming in.

I would definitely advise caution in high-risk situations. If you can, definitely avoid Wi-Fi. If you’re going to use it, make sure you’re logged on to a really secure network, such as your hotel’s network. (Make sure you confirm with the hotel that it is in fact theirs).

Don’t do any banking and change your passwords before you travel and then change them again when you get back. It’s a good idea to have new passwords when you’re in a high-risk country for getting hacked.

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