Did you watch that? It’s total crap.
The security expert quoted in the piece, Kyle Wilhoit, has just written a blog post that calls out the report, essentially saying that the hacks shown in the video can happen anywhere, and require some risky user behavior to even happen.
That’s a long way from “if [tourists] fire up their phones at baggage claim, it’s probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics,” as Brian Williams claims in the clip above.
Talk about fear-mongering.
Here’s the deal, according to cybersecurity blog by Robert Graham, who used Wilhoit’s tweets and blog post to sum it all up.
The reporter “getting hacked” isn’t even in Sochi, but in Moscow, and the issue happens on websites they visit, not their location on the globe. The reporter, Richard Engel, had to approve the download of a malicious Android app, and then had to disable a lock that prevents such apps from being installed by users in the first place.
This isn’t getting hacked over Sochi WiFi networks via any malicious “man in the middle” attacks at all, it’s just plain nonsense.
“Absolutely 0% of the story was about turning on a computer and connecting to a Sochi network,” writes Graham. “100% of the story was about visiting websites remotely. Thus, the claim of the story that you’ll get hacked immediately upon turning on your computers is fraudulent. The only thing that can be confirmed by the story is ‘don’t let Richard Engel borrow your phone.'”
Or open your MacBook Air box, apparently. Way to rip into it, Engel.
The moral of the story? Big news media knows very little about technology; don’t get your info from Brian Williams.