FBI Tells People Going To The Olympics To Leave Their Personal Devices At Home

As the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics starts this week, concerns have grown over the risk of potential cyber attacks during the Olympics and Paralympics. Today, the FBI released a PIN, advising athletes to leave their personal phones at home and to consider a temporary phone while attending events.

The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has released a Private Industry Notification (PIN) to warn entities associated with the February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and March 2022 Paralympics that malicious cyber actors could use a broad range of cyber activities to disrupt these events. These activities include distributed denial-of-service attacks, ransomware, malware, social engineering, data theft or leaks, phishing campaigns, disinformation campaigns, and insider threats. Additionally, the FBI PIN warns Olympic participants and travelers of potential threats associated with mobile applications developed by untrusted vendors. The FBI urges all athletes to keep their personal cell phone at home and use a temporary phone while attending the events.

This mirrors advice that the Dutch Olympic Committee gave its athletes.

Chris Olson, CEO of The Media Trust had this to say:

“While geopolitical factors may decrease the likelihood of a state-sponsored cyberattack during the 2022 Winter Olympics, it is unlikely to reduce the number of consumer-directed cyberattacks from digital third parties. In fact, we are gearing up for a record breaking number: Olympics season always brings a spike in malicious advertising, phishing attacks and corrupted links. Cyber actors take advantage of increased online engagement by targeting channels that consumers use to stay abreast of news and results, leading to identity theft, financial fraud, and more.”

“During these periods, media and news outlets must prepare themselves for the inevitable onslaught if they wish to protect their visitors and reputation. Digital trust and safety are more important than they have ever been, and complacency is a recipe for disaster.”

Clearly there is a fear that if you go to China with your personal device, you will get pwned. Which makes sense as the Chinese don’t exactly have the best track record when it comes to this sort of thing. Thus it likely is a good idea to leave your personal device at home as you can’t be too careful.

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