NBC Report On Instant Hacking In Sochi Is Utter Bullsh*t

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.

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  • Christian Werwaiss

    WHAT IS NBS???? DID YOU MEAN NBC????? rereading is key!!

  • Rob LeFebvre

    WHAT IS NBS???? DID YOU MEAN NBC????? rereading is key!!

    Thanks, dude.

  • sbrionez

    Rob, I’m glad I wasn’t the only one who noticed this guy rip open a MBA box? I’m watching this thinking, wow, there is an easier way to open that box!

  • lwdesign1

    I would assume that the Russian and US governments at very least are monitoring every single phone call, email and Internet search in, around or near Sochi to try to be one up on any terrorist threats. They’d be stupid if they weren’t, so I don’t buy the line that your security won’t be immediately compromised as soon as you hit the airport. It may not necessarily be by “bad guy” hackers, but you can bet your cotton socks that all communications into and out of the area will be inspected for threats by tens of different security agencies. Consider that there will be athletes from all corners of the globe, each with their various governments concerned for their safety. Sochi should be an absolute hive of electronic surveillance by the various developed powers. The reach of the U.S. NSA will be everywhere around the games.

  • charlesrhamilton

    It’s NBC for chrissakes. Reporting truthfully isn’t their strong suit.

  • jeffythequick

    That kind of accuracy pervades the NBC brand.

    The oldest story of subtlety and inaccuracy comes from Genesis. Satan told the truth to Eve, everywhere but in the statement, “Thou shalt not surely die”.

    NBC keeps up the tradition in their reporting. Be an authority figure, and lie.

About the author

Rob LeFebvreAnchorage, Alaska-based freelance writer and editor Rob LeFebvre is Cult of Mac's Games and Tips Editor. He has contributed to various tech, gaming and iOS sites, including 148Apps, VentureBeat, and Paste Magazine. Feel free to find Rob on Twitter @roblef

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