5 Tips for Maximizing Your Cybersecurity at the 2022 Olympics

Cyber Safety at the Olympics

All Roads Lead to Beijing

The Olympics are back. More than 150,000 people from around the world are traveling to Beijing to experience the historic event. But large scale sporting events are a common target for cyberattacks, and the Olympic games are no exception. 

In late January, the FBI issued a warning to those competing in the games. The FBI statement suggested that athletes bring a temporary cell phone instead of their regular device to protect themselves from cyberattacks. So far, there have been no confirmed threats, but they warn that ransomware, malware, data theft, DDOS, and other attacks are likely. 

Athletes are not the only ones that should take cybersecurity precautions. At the Olympic games, everyone is a target. Athletes, coaches, journalists, and spectators should all take measures to avoid becoming cyberattack victims.

Cyberattacks at the Olympic Games

Travel during Covid-19 is fraught with regulations, rules, and safety precautions. The pandemic hit the tourism and hospitality industry hard worldwide, causing the loss of 62 million jobs. Workers in Beijing are undoubtedly excited to welcome travelers, but cybersecurity concerns still cloud the celebration. 

Attackers targeted the Olympics in London 2012, Rio 2016, Pyeonchang 2018, and Tokyo 2020 with malware attacks and data leaks. Beijing 2022 officials say that their networks are safe and protected, but experts have reason to believe that cyberattacks and other threats are just as likely to occur. 

Cybercrime cost companies and individuals in the US $6 trillion worth of damage last year, so there is plenty of reason to be concerned about cybersecurity if you are attending the 2022 Olympic games. 

Additionally, Chinese officials require all athletes, audience members, and media to download the MY2022 app 14 days before their arrival. This app is meant to be used for contact tracing, but a recent investigation revealed that the app might not be as secure as officials say.

Maximizing Your Cybersecurity at The Olympic Games

To protect yourself and your company’s cloud and on-prem network, here are five tips for maximizing your cybersecurity at the Olympics:

1. Leave your corporate laptop at home 

First of all, there is no reason you should be working while attending one of the world’s biggest sporting events. Enjoy yourself! But there is a more practical reason you should leave your computer at home, too. 

VPNs are not allowed under China’s new privacy regulations (!), and you must trust their firewall network. So leave your computer at home, learn how to protect yourself from phishing, and just enjoy the Olympics.

2. Leave your smartwatch at home

Smartwatches and other connected devices are sure to make your vacation more relaxing, but using them at the 2022 Olympic games could have lasting consequences. 

IoT devices are notorious for being insecure as well as primary attack vectors for cybercriminals. In fact, 65% of companies experienced a severe cybersecurity incident last year, and with so many people attending the games, the likelihood of a significant incident is high.

3. Take a burner phone

Per the FBI’s advice, you might want avoid risking your smartphone and get yourself a classic burner phone. Usually attributed to unsavory or criminal activities, a temporary cell phone can help protect your accounts, passwords, apps, and contacts from being leaked if a cyberattack occurs while you’re at the games. 

If you simply must have your phone, make sure it’s not your business phone and create a new email address to use for your accounts and online activities while you’re away.

4. Avoid using digital wallets

The convenience of digital payments is unparalleled and has become a staple in an increasingly touchless society. However, a lack of encryption and the fact that authorities could access your financial data during your time in Beijing makes cash seem more appealing.

5. Post pictures and videos after the games

Social media is a breeding ground for catfishing, phishing scams, and other attempts to steal your data, identity, or your money. When traveling to the games, it’s wise to avoid apps that track and share your location data, store personal information, or provide information that attackers can use to break into your other accounts. Share your Olympic moments when you touch down in the USA.

One More Thing

Once you’re safely home, you should also consider adding a unified cybersecurity solution like Perimeter 81 to protect both your cloud and on-prem networks, as well as business assets like smartphones and laptops. 

Until then, practice safe behaviors to avoid bringing home viruses—whether Covid variants, common colds, or the cyber type—and enjoy the 2022 Winter Games.