FBI asks US athletes to use burner phones during Bejing Olympics 2022 citing 'malicious' cyber activities

WION Web Team
New Delhi, India Updated: Feb 02, 2022, 08:36 AM(IST)

Beijing 2022 Olympics. Photograph:( AFP )

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FBI has warned that malicious cyber actors could use a broad range of cyber activities to disrupt the Games

Citing a potential threat of "malicious" cyber activities, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has asked the United States athletes to use burner phones (temporary phones) during Winter Olympics 2022 in China and leave their personal cell phones at home. 

Olympic Games Beijing 2022, shadowed by controversies, is scheduled to be held between February 4 to February 20. 

In a notice, the agency said, "The FBI urges all athletes to keep their personal cell phones at home and use a temporary phone while at the games."

"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," the notice added. 

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FBI has warned that malicious cyber actors could use a broad range of cyber activities to disrupt the Winter Olympics and Paralympics. 

Activities such as ransomware and denial of service attacks. The agency warned about potential malware and data theft. There's also a possibility of the installation of "tracking tools" on mobile devices. 

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The warning comes as some of the Western countries have accused China of 'egregious' human rights violations in the Xinjiang region against the Uyghur Muslims. 

The US imposed diplomatic sanctions on China after accusing it of mass detention, torture, forced labour and genocide in Xinjiang. 

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After the United States announced a diplomatic boycott of the event, other countries like Australia, the UK and Canada also confirmed that they will not send government officials to the Games. 

Also, the human rights activists have made claims that Beijing is silencing critics domestically ahead of the Winter Olympics and using arbitrary ways such as not letting activists leave their houses and putting them behind bars ahead of the Olympics. 

The move aims to prevent any protests, criticism or condemnation of China related to human rights violations or others during the Beijing Winter Olympics. 

Apart from the Xinjiang issue, the current coronavirus (COVID-19) in the country and the safety of Chinese tennis player Peng Shuai also remained a hot topic for China. 

 

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