Written in Ink
Written in Ink

I hate to paste so much of this blog post here; you should read the whole thing for yourself. But the premise is striking and the evidence is strong. "That NBC story 100% fraudulent"

Yesterday (Feb 5 2014) NBC News ran a story claiming that if you bring your mobile phone or laptop to the Sochi Olympics, it'll immediately be hacked the moment you turn it on. The story was fraudulent. It was about going to the Olympics in cyberspace (visiting websites), not going to their in person and using their local WiFi.

The story shows Richard Engel "getting hacked" while in a cafe at Sochi. It is wrong in every respect.
- They aren't actually in Sochi (they are in Moscow).
- The "hack" happens because of the websites they visit (Olympic themed websites), not their physical location. The results would've been the same in America.
- The phone didn't "get hacked", Richard Engel initiated the download of a hostile Android app onto his phone.

I had expected the story to be about the situation with WiFi in Sochi, such as man-in-the-middle attacks inserting the Blackhole toolkit into web pages exploiting the latest Flash 0day. But the story was nothing of the sort.

Instead, the hacking in the story was due to the hostility of Olympic themed websites. The only increased danger from being in Russia is geolocation. Google uses your IP address to rate local sites above websites across the world, so you'll see more dodgy Russian sites in the results. You can disable this feature in your Google account settings.

Absolutely 0% of the story was about turning on a computer and connecting to a Sochi network. 100% of the story was about visiting websites remotely. Thus, the claim of the story that you'll get hacked immediately upon turning on your computers is fraudulent. The only thing that can be confirmed by the story is "don't let Richard Engel borrow your phone".

That leaves us with the same advice that we always give people:

. More at the link.


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