Skip to content

US, UK Tell Soccer Fans to Beware of Phone Hackers at World Cup

June 15, 2018
2 min read
US, UK Tell Soccer Fans to Beware of Phone Hackers at World Cup
This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Footie fans at the World Cup in Russia should be taking measures to make sure their phones aren't hacked by the Kremlin while they're there, the US and UK governments said this week. And that warning goes for all Americans and Britons — even regular Joes who have no reason to think they're being targeted by a foreign government, they said.

"Anyone traveling to Russia to attend the World Cup should be clear-eyed about the cyber-risks involved," William Evanina, FBi agent and director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, said on Wednesday. "Corporate and government officials are most at risk, but don't assume you're too insignificant to be targeted."

The threat is so great that he even suggested Western tourists leave their electronic devices at home entirely, or use burner phones that they can discard after the games instead. He added that visitors should remove that batteries from their phones when they're not using them.

"If you can do without the device, don’t take it," he said.

The British government issued a warning to its citizens that Kremlin or criminal hackers could use the data they collect from mobile phones to pinpoint a tourist's hotel and travel plans and steal his or her identity. The National Cyber Security Centre told Brits in Russia for the event to forgo online banking entirely. Hotel and free or public Wi-Fi are also to be avoided, the agency said.

Before they flew to Russia, the athletes on the UK's World Cup teams were briefed on the threat and told to treat their hotel rooms as if they were constantly surveilled.

Sign up for our daily newsletter
Featured image by Peter Kovalev

Top offers from our partners

How we chose these cards

Our points-obsessed staff uses a plethora of credit cards on a daily basis. If anyone on our team wouldn’t recommend it to a friend or a family member, we wouldn’t recommend it on The Points Guy either. Our opinions are our own, and have not been reviewed, approved, or endorsed by our advertising partners.
See all best card offers