Fans traveling to Russia for the 2018 FIFA World Cup are being cautioned to avoid tapping into Russia’s Wi-Fi networks.
In a blog post entitled “Avoid scoring a cyber security own goal this summer,” Great Britain’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) is warning travelers that “Public and hotel Wi-Fi connections may not be safe.”
Further, says the agency, “Avoid internet banking abroad…”
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The blog post comes just months after the NCSC in tandem with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security released a “technical alert” warning of “malicious cyber activity carried out by the Russian Government.”
Security agencies have long been warning of malicious intent through Russia’s Wi-Fi systems. Last year, FireEye, a networking security website, warned travelers that there is “mounting evidence that a Russian hacking group known as APT28 (or Fancy Bear) has been targeting hotel guests through hacked hotel Wi-Fi networks.”
The latest warning, through the NCSC, recommends fans carry pay-as-they-go devices and tap into the internet using secured mobile data.
Additionally, the agency recommends not sharing phones, laptops or USB drives with anyone; and to be “cautious” with IT-related gifts such as USB sticks.
Other tips from the NCSC include:
—Check with your network operator whether your technology will work abroad and what costs are involved. It may be safer and cheaper to buy a pay-as-you-go phone.
—Make sure all your software and apps are up to date. If you are taking a laptop then make sure your antivirus is turned on.
—Turn on the ability to wipe your phone should it become lost. Ideally, back up all your data and photos before you travel.
—Make sure your devices are password/passcode protected and use other security features, such as fingerprint recognition. Passwords/passcodes should be unique for each account and device.
—Many email and social media providers offer two-factor authentication. You should turn this on for important accounts; it makes it harder for other people to access your accounts.
—Never download apps from unofficial providers, either in the UK or abroad. Unofficial app stores cannot be trusted; there is no way of knowing if the app is genuine.
—Your normal streaming services (e.g. Netflix) and online stores (e.g. iTunes, Google Play) might not work abroad. You should download films and books before you go. Do not use unofficial streaming sites as they might be untrustworthy.
—Keep your devices with you at all times if possible rather than leave them unattended. Hotel rooms, safes and lockers are not always secure because other people may have access codes or keys.
More tips from cybersecurity firms include:
—Never use your mobile device as your hotel room key, and
—Stop using debit cards to check into hotels. Instead, use charge cards to protect yourself.