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Winter Olympic athletes using burner phones in Beijing

Two ice makers spray water after installing a sub-glacial Beijing 2022 logo on the track at the...
Two ice makers spray water after installing a sub-glacial Beijing 2022 logo on the track at the Yanqing National Sliding Center ahead of the 2022 Winter Olympics, Friday, Jan. 28, 2022, in the Yanqing district of Beijing. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)(Jae C. Hong | AP)
Published: Feb. 6, 2022 at 11:50 AM CST
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MADISON, Wis. (WMTV/Gray News) - The FBI has encouraged U.S. Olympic Athletes to use burner phones while competing in the Winter Olympics.

The FBI released a statement last week encouraging Olympians to leave their phones and bring burner phones to Beijing, China. The reason cited: Cybersecurity concerns.

The FBI says the agency tracked over 450 million cyber-related incidents during the 2020 games, but none were successful, thanks to cybersecurity measures put in place ahead of time.

An Olympic Ski Jumper from Madison, Anna Hoffmann, told WMTV the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee provided new phones and numbers to athletes leaving for China.

“The USOPC has provided us with a lot of safety measures to make sure that we’re cyber safe,” Hoffman said.

Her mother, Sharon Hoffman, said she appreciated the committee taking care of communication as they rushed her daughter off to Beijing.

“Anna was added on a Monday, and Friday had to pack, and by Saturday was in L.A.,” said Sharon Hoffman. “So I was like ‘AHH,’ what are we going to do, so that was awesome that they took care of it for us.”

Sharon Hoffman added it is great to have continued contact with her daughter as they cheer her on from afar.

“It’s exciting to be able to follow her every day when she’s had time to do it,” she said. “We’re so proud of her.”

The FBI says security is a concern because applications like digital wallets and mobile COVID-19 vaccine cards increase risk while traveling in Beijing.

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