Reports: Winter Olympics App Has Serious Flaws; Athlete Personal Security At Risk


Reports: Winter Olympics App Has Serious Flaws; Athlete Personal Security At Risk

The 2022 Beijing Olympics smartphone app — MY2022 — that Olympic athletes will use to report health and travel data has some serious issues, according to reports.

The app’s intention is to track COVID-19 data and possible outbreaks prior to and during the Olympic Winter Games to keep athletes from bringing the virus into the general population, but the reports bring concerns about censorship and surveillance during the Games. According to a New York Times report citing Citizen Lab, a University of Toronto cybersecurity watchdog, “portions of the app that will transmit coronavirus test results, travel information and other personal data failed to verify the signature used in encrypted transfers, or didn’t encrypt the data at all.”

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The report also found that the Olympics app includes a series of political terms marked for censorship in its code, though it does not appear to actively use the list to filter communications.

An American Enterprise Institute report stated the app has serious security vulnerabilities and that “all Olympian audio is being collected, analyzed and saved on Chinese servers.” Citing the Citizen Lab report, AEI went on to state the app has a “devastating flaw where encryption protecting users’ voice audio and file transfers can be trivially sidestepped.”

According to the New York Times report, “Citizen Lab said it disclosed the security flaws to the Beijing Organizing Committee on Dec. 3 but had not received any response. A January update to the software did not fix the issues, which most likely put the app in violation of China’s newly enacted personal data protection laws, as well as the privacy policies required to list an app on Google’s and Apple’s stores.”

“All the information you are transmitting can be intercepted, particularly if you are on an untrusted network like a coffee shop or hotel Wi-Fi service,” Jeffrey Knockel, a research associate with Citizen Lab told the New York Times.

This could lead to a number of serious issues, including identity theft, with the report stating hackers could steal information without the Chinese government realizing it.