A Lesson on WiFi Security from the Sochi Winter Olympics

b2ap3_thumbnail_winter_olympiad_400As thousands of athletes descend upon Sochi, Russia for the Winter Olympics, they will not only be competing against each other for the gold, but they will also be competing against hackers for the security of their personal data. What can we learn about network security from the Winter Olympics?

At the start of the games, NBC did an investigation on the prominence of hacking in Russia. What they found was startling. Basically, as soon as a device is connected to public WiFi, it is hacked. This isn’t your garden-variety hack that we’re dealing with. No, this is KGB-level intelligence that has the capabilities to steal secrets to even the most well-guarded figure skating routine. That’s right; the Russian hackers know exactly how many triple axels you’ve got planned, Ms. Ashley Wagner. Visitors to the winter games should take as much care with the security of their mobile devices as figure skaters do with sequin.

If you don’t believe us, then listen to the mahogany-rich voice of NBC golden boy Brian Williams:


Russia isn’t the only place that a mobile device user is at risk when logging onto public WiFi. Essentially, any WiFi network has the potential for a hacker to be lurking on the other end, and this risk dramatically increases at high-profile events like the Olympics, or even a busy shopping center in Toronto. Unless you really trust the place or the people around you are best served to only use secured WiFi connections.

If you’re in Russia enjoying the winter games, then you might be better off just keeping your smartphone powered off. One option a traveling smartphone user has that will let them still use the basic tools of the device, while at a risky location, is to go to settings and put the device on “airplane mode.” This will allow a user to use all of their phone’s functions that aren’t dependent upon an Internet connection.

You likely have a network security solution in place for your company’s IT infrastructure. You will also want to install a security solution on your mobile device to prevent hackers from accessing your personal data. Preferably, you will want a strong mobile security solution that can stay in front of the hacker’s attacks, just like Dutch speedskater Ireen Wust stays in front of the best speed skaters of rest of the world.

However, as is the nature with digital security, even the best solution will fail if a user is uneducated about how to protect themselves from the tricks of hackers like public WiFi traps. To learn more about how to protect your mobile device from threats, and to equip your mobile device with a strong security solution, give PACE Technical Services a call at 905.763.7896.

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