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February 6th, 2014

Going to the Olympics? Prepare to be hacked

If you are one of the thousands of visitors headed to Sochi, Russia for Friday’s 2014 Winter Olympics opening ceremony then you will be hacked. Richard Engel, from NBC news, reported that it’s not if you get hacked, it’s when, and he discovered that it starts from the moment you turn on your device.

In an experiment conducted by NBC Nightly News, their just out-of-the-box computer and smartphone were hacked in seconds while in Sochi. “The State Department warns that travelers should have no expectation of privacy; even in their hotel rooms. And as we found out, you are especially exposed as soon as you try and communicate with anything,” reported Engel.

“As tourists and families of athletes arrive in Sochi…if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it’s probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. Visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked,” said NBC’s anchorman Brian Williams as he introduced the report.

Watch the video report of NBC’s experiment (there’s an ad first, so give it a few seconds):


Protect yourself with avast! SecureLine VPN

Wherever you travel – whether to Sochi or your neighborhood coffee shop –  you are sure to use public WiFi, which is full of security risks. That’s why we came up with a solution -  have avast! SecureLine VPN installed on your devices. avast! SecureLine is available for PCs, and just recently we released avast! SecureLine for Android and iOS devices.

How to get avast! SecureLine

avast! SecureLine for PC is available as an add-on to avast! Antivirus. Get it from our website, or open the AVAST interface, click on the Store tab and get a free trial or one-month, one-year, or two-year subscription.

avast! SecureLine VPN for your smartphone or tablet is available as a monthly or yearly subscription for Android on Google Play and for iOS in the Apple App Store.

UPDATE: NBC has taken some criticism for the story since this report, with claims that it was misleading and promoted scaremongering. The experts they worked with released a white paper describing how each new device, without the protection of antivirus software, was compromised. NBC responded by stating that their experiment was designed to “show in general how easily a non-expert can fall victim.”

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  • who_me

    Fear mongering much? Let me debunk that “journalistic endeavour” a bit.

    Nobody ever should use public wifi anywhere for sensitive stuff unless they know that communications are end to end encrypted.

    No android phone comes with side-loading activated by default. So just the fact that a file was downloaded does not mean squat. If it was an apk, it needed to be installed by the phone user.

    As for the “no expectation for privacy in Russia” bit… guys after the Snowden revelations, we now know that your privacy is not protected anywhere.

    The US spies on its citizens and everybody else, the Canadians were just caught doing naughty stuff in their airports, the GCHQ does it…

    Dear people at Avast, please, next time be professional. That clip oozes with bad journalism. You should know better. :/

  • bob3160

    I think you’re trying to read something into a post that isn’t there.
    It’s a simple attempt to emphasize the advantage of using avast!’s VPN service.
    It points out that any time you are someplace where your internet access is insecure,
    using SecureLine is the smart thing to do.
    Politics belong to the politicians. Security belongs to Avast. :)