A European spy chief has warned World Cup fans to be on alert for Russian spies targeting them for information and blackmail operations.
The head of the Estonian foreign intelligence service, Mikk Marran, has counselled fans and soccer stars heading to Russia in June and July for the soccer fiesta to keep phones, laptops and other electronic devices with them at all times or not to bring them at all.
He disclosed that strangers who bring up conversations in bars and other public places could be undercover agents, trying to establish friendships that could be exploited.
Hear Mr Marran:
“People are giving out a lot of information when they travel to Russia: names, addresses, social security numbers. That data is installed in systems of the Russian special services.
“That doesn’t mean every fan is a target but there will be high-level officials visiting Russia, who might be possible targets.
“They are going to be looking at who are coming, where they are staying, what they are doing, what are the possibilities, weaknesses. We are trying to raise awareness that this is the risk.
“It doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t go to Russia. Russia is a great country. But just to make people more aware of what might be happening around them when they are happily having a pint in Moscow or someplace else.”