American travelers making their way to the numerous locations within Russia to witness the Russia 2018 World Cup have been issued a warning by William Evanina, FBI agent and the director of the U.S. National Counterintelligence and Security Center, that Russian hackers could target them. Evanina pointed out, “Corporate and government officials are most at risk, but don’t assume you’re too insignificant to be targeted,” adding to this warning “make no mistake – any data on those devices (especially your personally identifiable information) may be accessed by the Russian government or cyber criminals.” He suggested that travelers take a different device than the ones that they normally used, and even still, to remove the batteries from devices when they were not in use, further limiting their ability to be accessed without the permission or awareness of the owner.
On a similar note, Britain’s National Cyber Security Center had issued a similar warning to UK citizens making their way to Russia to see their national team participate in the tournament. They were said to be providing critical advice to the UK Football Association as the players travel to Volgograd for their World Cup campaign opening game against Tunisia, on the 18th of June, 2018. A private cyber security expert chimed in with the warnings issued, saying that the use of “burner” devices would further prevent harm from any potential hacking attempts from resulting in successful data gathering. The term burner device is used to refer to devices used temporarily and then disposed of.
Similar warnings have been issued ahead of major international events, the last such being issued by US agencies ahead of the Winter Olympics that took place in Seoul in February of this year.