Security researcher involved in NBC Russia hacking piece disputes report

Recently NBC News ran a hysterical hacking story suggesting that you'll be hacked within minutes when you step off the plane in Russia. Now a security researcher involved in the story, Kyle Wilhoit, is disputing how it was presented. Trend Micro:

Whether to execute “applications” or to open a Microsoft Word document, all the attacks shown required user interaction in order to compromise the device.

What's more, the threats depicted in the NBC news piece could happen anywhere - physical location is largely irrelevant on the Internet. It's not specific to being in Russia, in Moscow, Sochi or anywhere else.

So, contrary to the report, people aren't being arbitrarily hacked the second they start up their cell phone or connect to a public Wi-Fi spot in Russia. They're doing something to compromise their computer's own security.

So the question becomes, did NBC really no know any better, or was an accurate story not what they were after?

Peter Cohen