How the Sochi Winter Games Affects the Enterprise

By: Absolute Editorial Team | 2/7/2014

The 2014 Winter Olympics are set to begin this Friday, February 7th, in the Russian city of Sochi. Whether you're aware or not, a wave of Sochi-related threats are a real threat for enterprises in the upcoming weeks. The top enterprise threats from the Sochi Winter Games are:

  1. Phishing attacks around the Winter Games
  2. Threats from employees, contractors or contacts at the Winter Games

Phishing at the Winter Games

The Winter Olympics have already spiked the interest of cybercriminals, who are creating targeted phishing attacks. As David Grange of Dyn notes, "By sending emails pretending to be event updates and insight, cyber criminals capitalise on the widespread interest in the Winter Olympics to inject malware or malicious downloads onto company servers."

Enterprises should have systems in place to verify the authenticity of an email (using a proper Domain Name System), and employees should be made aware of the potential for scams surrounding the Games.

Akin to phishing, employees may be trying to view the Games while at work, often landing on sources with "live coverage" that are compromised instead of official / trusted news sources.

Who Do You Know at the Winter Games?

There are 120,000 visitors expected to descend upon the city for the Games - tourists, athletes, media, coaches and support teams, family, and staff. NBC's Brian Williams notes that "visitors to Russia can expect to be hacked," everything from the data already on their phones (contacts, emails, passwords, everything) to the ongoing communications sent and received while in Russia.

The hacking at Sochi comes in two forms: first the 'official' and legal snooping from the government, second is malicious hacking from cybercriminals. Although travellers to Sochi may have "no expectation of privacy," the risks extend beyond the borders of Russia. Aside from intents that directly impact individuals (fraud, identity theft), criminals will be looking for contacts, passwords, personal data and corporate data to exploit in targeted phishing attacks and hacks. These same threats exist if devices are stolen at the Games.

Do you have an employee at the Games? Does your employee know someone at the Games? Do you have a contractor at the Games? All it takes is one device with corporate information / access / contact details, hacked or stolen, to cause an enterprise headache.

If you know of anyone at the Games who may have enterprise information, have them follow our Winter Games Device Security tips here. More importantly, from an enterprise perspective, be sure to delete data which could be compromised or help the employee wipe the device prior to the trip (after a back-up). If the device is protected with Absolute Computrace, our agent will still be active even after the wipe, assisting if the device does become stolen. If you have devices at risk in Sochi already that have not been wiped, it would be a good idea for IT to remotely delete sensitive data and warn employees that ongoing communications will be compromised.

Since devices used at the Games will still be compromised when they return, be sure they are completely reformatted before allowing them to connect to the corporate network.

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