Hackers Are Also Training to Take Over Mobile Devices at the Olympics

Posted: August 4, 2016 / Author: Dror Liwer
Three things will almost certainly happen at the Olympic Games 2016: Rio de Janeiro weather will be beautiful, Russian athletes will surely be missed and a few athletes will win hearts with captivating performances. Another thing is undoubtedly bound to occur during the summer games: Cybercriminals will desperately try to win the gold medal of network hacking. Millions of people will be in Rio to attend Olympic events and they will assuredly seek WiFi connections for their devices. Hackers – whether they wear athletic gear or not – will be waiting to hijack those devices. [Tweet "Brazil is already notorious for its large concentration of hackers."]In its 2016 Internet Security Threat Report, Symantec ranked Brazil eighth in the world for bot-based cybercrime. The organization says Brazil is the source of 2 percent of all bots throughout the world. When you couple that prevalence of cybercrime with throngs of device-using people working at and attending the Olympics, the threat of hacking is as sure as a swimmer diving into a pool.   No Free WiFi There is no such thing as free WiFi, and large events such as the Olympics dispel that widely-held belief. Sports stadiums and event venues that boast of free WiFi often fail to provide enough bandwidth to accommodate the large crunch of users seeking a gratis and secure network connection. Just look at how the 2015 Rugby World Cup dropped the ball. Organizers invested heavily in equipping the different stadiums with dedicated WiFI but it was insufficient. There were many reports of WiFi outages; the infrastructure was in no way sufficient to cope with the more than 2 million smartphone-dependent, rugby-crazed attendees. It happens in America, too. In July, WiFi issues prevented employees of AT&T Stadium -- the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys -- from wirelessly scanning the tickets of fans trying to enter WrestleMania 32. Without a trusted WiFi connection available, as seen at the Rugby World Cup, people turn to public WiFi – and that’s when they put their devices at risk. SecureList drove around major areas of the Olympic games and monitored the available networks which visitors are most likely to use during their stay. The security publication found that 18% of all available WiFI networks in the area are insecure and openly configured. All data that’s sent and received over those networks is not protected by any encryption key and thus fair game to hackers. To make matters worse, 7% of all the monitored networks are WPA-personal protected. The WPA algorithm is obsolete today and can be broken with little effort. So in total, about a quarter of all WiFi networks in the area of Olympic venues are insecure or configured with weak protocols. As SecureList points out, users who connect to what are promoted as trusted networks may believe they are actually connecting to a secure network. In reality, there’s a high probability that network could be compromised by a hacker.   Olympic-sized Cyber Worries Surely, no Olympic fan in Brazil will be scared enough of hacking to not use his/her device. After all, smartphones are as much a part of sports as popcorn and beer. People who pay big money to be at a special event want to use their devices to take photos, record video, use social media and check email messages – among other electronic activities. Indeed, no one expects people to turn off their devices at such a high-profile event. They can take precautions, however. If you’re lucky enough to attend the Olympics, triple-check that the WiFi connection you’re using is legitimate and secure. Inquire with Olympic and hotel staff to be sure you’re on the right network. If you want to take WiFi security to an Olympic level, consider Coronet. We offer a lightweight software that detects malicious networks in real time and prevents devices from connecting to hotspots that have been compromised. You can still have fun and keep your device secure.
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