FBI urges Winter Olympic athletes to use burner phones during 2022 Beijing Games

US agency advises athletes to leave their phones at home for the Games

Citing cybersecurity threats, the FBI has advised Olympic athletes to leave their phones at home during the 2022 Beijing Olympics, according to a notice released on Monday. EPA
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The FBI has advised Olympic athletes to use temporary phones while competing in the 2022 Winter Games, according to a notice released on Monday.

Citing the risk of cybersecurity threats, the US law enforcement agency urged athletes to leave their mobile devices at home.

“The National Olympic Committees in some western countries are also advising their athletes to leave personal devices at home or use temporary phones due to cybersecurity concerns at the Games," according to the statement.

In 2018, Russian cyber actors disrupted the opening ceremony of the Winter Games held in PyeongChang, South Korea, the FBI said.

It said it was not aware of any specific cyber threats against the 2022 Olympics.

NTT Corporation, a telecoms company, said more than 450 million cyber crimes were attempted during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, according to the FBI.

The company said they all failed because security measures had been put in place.

The most popular cyber-attack methods included malware, email spoofing, phishing and the use of fake websites.

Digital wallets or mobile apps that track Covid-19 testing and vaccination could also increase the opportunity for cyber attacks, the FBI said.

Foreign spectators have been barred from attending the Winter Olympics.

In a New Year address, Chinese President Xi Jinping said he would “spare no effort to present a great” Winter Olympics.

Beijing will be the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games.

Last month, the White House said it would not send any US diplomats to The Games, citing human rights concerns in China.

About 3,000 athletes from 91 countries are due to compete, including 222 Americans.

The 2022 Beijing Olympics run from February 4 to 20. The Winter Paralympics are set to take place from March 4 to 13.

Updated: February 02, 2022, 5:35 AM