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'Leave Your Cellphones at Home,' US Counter-Intel Chief Warns World Cup Fans

© Sputnik / Valeriy Melnikov / Go to the mediabankNew smartphones, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, on sale at the GUM shopping center
New smartphones, iPhone 8 and iPhone 8 Plus, on sale at the GUM shopping center - Sputnik International
Even the up and coming FIFA World Cup in Russia has not been spared by US spooks, always on the lookout for evil Russian hackers.

William Evanina, the director of the US National Counterintelligence and Security Center, has advised fellow Americans planning to attend the upcoming World Cup games in Russia to leave their cellphones and other electronic devices at home to make sure that they are not hacked, to avoid making them vulnerable to criminals, Reuters reported.

“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,” warned Evanina, who is also an FBI agent.

“If you can do without the device, don’t take it," he added.

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Those who just can’t part company with their smartphones, are advised to take along backups and remove the battery as often as possible

According to Reuters, UK security agencies have issued similar warnings to British fans and members of the England football squad coming to Russia.

In January 2017, the US House Intelligence Committee opened a probe into Russia’s alleged meddling in the 2016 US election.

Both Russia and the Trump campaign have denied all allegations of collusion, with Moscow dismissing accusations that it interfered in the US presidential election as “absurd.”

READ MORE: Russia's Sports Facilities 'Fully Ready' to Host FIFA World Cup — Organizers

More than a year on, the committee has found no evidence of any "collusion, coordination, or conspiracy" between Donald Trump's campaign team and Russia.

The 2018 FIFA World Cup will take place at 12 stadiums across 11 Russian cities, including Moscow, Saint Petersburg and Sochi, from June 14 to July 15.

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