WASHINGTON: The top USA counterintelligence official is advising Americans travelling to Russia for football’s World Cup beginning this week that they should not take electronic devices because they are likely to be hacked by criminals or the Russian government. In a statement on Wednesday, William Evanina, an FBI agent and the director of the USA National Counterintelligence and Security Center, warned World Cup travellers that even if they think they are insignificant, hackers could still target them. “If you’re planning on taking a mobile phone, laptop, PDA, or other electronic device with you – make no mistake – any data on those devices (especially your personally identifiable information) may be accessed by the Russian government or cyber criminals,” he said. “Corporate and government officials are most at risk, but don’t assume you’re too insignificant to be targeted,” Evanina added. “If you can do without the device, don’t take it. If you must take one, take a different device from your usual one and remove the battery when not in use.” Evanina’s warning comes as USA intelligence, law enforcement and congressional officials are still investigating Russian hacking in the 2016 presidential election and whether anyone with President Donald Trump’s campaign was aware of or aided it. Trump has repeatedly denied there was any collusion and Russia has said it did not meddle in the USA election.Published in Daily Times, June 14th 2018.