Nightly News   |  February 04, 2014

Hacked Within Minutes: Sochi Visitors Face Internet Minefield

The U.S. State Department has told Americans coming to Sochi that they should have “no expectation of privacy,” even in their hotel rooms.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> the opening ceremony is this coming friday night. the games begin on thursday, two days from now. with three early events in prime time . as tourists and families of athletes arrive in sochi, if they haven't been warned, and if they fire up their phones at baggage claim, it's probably too late to save the integrity of their electronics and everything inside them. visitors to russia can expect to be hacked . and as richard engel found out upon his arrival there, it's not a matter of if, but when. richard, good evening.

>> reporter: good evening, brian. the state department warns the travelers should have no expectation of privacy. even in their hotel rooms . you are immediately exposed as soon as you try to communicate with anything. one of the first thing visitors to russia will do is log on. hackers here will count on it. we decided to find out how dangerous that could be.

>> welcome to moscow.

>> reporter: with the help of a top american security expert and two brand new computers.

>> we start out with these fresh machines. and we're going to see what happens when you turn them on in russia .

>> reporter: back in the u.s., will created a phony identity for me, the only real detail, my name.

>> you're putting my profile on these computers?

>> that's exactly right.

>> reporter: with our new computers loaded with attractive data, we headed for a restaurant, where we used a new smart phone to browse for information about the sochi olympics . almost immediately we were hacked .

>> did you see where it said downloading?

>> i did.

>> it's actually downloading a piece of malwear.

>> malicious software hijacked our phone before i even started my coffee.

>> anything i say on this will endanger my financial security , maybe even my physical security depending on who's listening?

>> exactly.

>> reporter: one of the largest computer security companies in the world is charged with protecting the games. but experts here say visitors will bring so many devices, the hackers will have plenty of targets.

>> everything segment of this huge, huge, huge infrastructure can be under attack.

>> back at the hotel will hoyt was using specialized software to monitor my two computers. and sure enough, they had also been hacked .

>> you were able to tell that very, very quickly, someone was poking around?

>> exactly.

>> it had taken hackers less than one minute to pounce. within 24 hours they had broken into both computers and started helping themselves to my data.

>> where is this information going?

>> the traffic is going to a server within russia .

>> reporter: american athletes and fans now coming to russia by the thousands are entering a minefield. the instant they log on to the internet.

>> the best way to protect yourself is quite simple, if you don't really need a device, don't bring it. try to avoid the public wifi. and if there's anything particularly and uniquely important on your computer or phone, banking information or photographs, remove it before coming to russia .

>> americans, other visitors as they say, have been warned.