BEIJING — Warnings to use disposable “burner” phones and laptops. Privacy-protecting software. Concerns about a security flaw in an official Games smartphone app.
Such precautions fueled unease about data privacy for competitors and attendees at the Winter Olympics in Beijing. Not everyone heeded them.
“Honestly, I’ve been coming to China for 12 years or whatever, and I’m not that important,” Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris said. “Maybe if I was a diplomat or something, then I’d switch out my phone.”
Nefarious cyber activity is a flashpoint in the geopolitical rivalry between China and the West. Beijing has long been accused by the U.S. and technology watchdogs of widespread online snooping and data pilfering, allegations it denies.
Now that the Games are ending, and some 16,000 athletes, organizers, journalists and other visitors are heading home, concerns turn to what malware and other problems those who failed to heed the warnings might be carrying with them.
The good news: Cybersecurity firm Mandiant said there’s been no sign of any “intrusion activity” tied to the Olympics by the Chinese or other governments.