Spy Games: All Phone and Web Communications of Athletes and Visitors to Sochi Olympics Will be Monitored

Russia has installed a surveillance system at the site of next year’s Winter Olympic Games in Sochi that will allow security services to monitor all phone and web traffic of athletes and visitors at the upcoming Olympic games.

Dubbed SORM, the system will give Russian security services free access to all phone and Internet communications at the Olympic Games in February without the providers’ knowledge.

The U.S. State Department recently put out a statement warning American visitors to Sochi that Russian law “permits the monitoring, retention and analysis of all data that traverses Russian communication networks.”

At KoolSpan, we deal daily with clients who have personally experienced overseas hacking while traveling abroad. These business travelers often run into mobile security problems, including countries monitoring their communication.

The reality is that you are subject to increased security risks when you’re overseas. In fact, your SIM shows up as an international SIM immediately upon registering on another country’s network – literally flagging your information as belonging to an international traveler.

If you’re traveling to Sochi for the Olympics – or anywhere internationally – here is a list of tips to protect your information:

  • Password protection will mitigate hacking, but information can still be booted from a USB drive to another device. To fully protect your device from this, you should implement full drive encryption.
  • If your mobile device has a removable battery, disconnecting it from the device can protect your data and that is how you should power your phone off. If you simply turn your phone off, it will remain on a low level to keep it alive to the cell tower and can be turned on remotely, however if the battery is removed there is no way to access it remotely.
  • Never leave your device unattended, even if it means taking your laptop bag with you to the bathroom.
  • Take advantage of built-in features for laptops. Windows computers include BitLocker, which encrypts the whole hard-drive. Mac’s FileVault automatically encrypts your home folder’s contents while you’re using them, but it has to be turned on by the user.
  • Purchase a temporary device that you can wipe clean or dispose of after your trip or consider installing mobile security hardware designed to encrypt your data and voice communications so you don’t need a burner phone.

Interested in learning more about how KoolSpan’s mobile security solutions can help you avoid hacking, interception and theft of your information – abroad or at home? Call us today at (240) 880-4400, Option 1 or fill out our contact form.