After unboxing the Macbook Air, they left the installed OS on default settings and connected to a hotel Wi-Fi access point. While surfing and being redirected from a "fake social media site," a malicious file downloaded. However, Wilhoit pointed out, "We proceeded to right-click and choose 'Open'. Had we not right-clicked and opened the file, Macintosh Gatekeeper running on OS X 10.8.5 would have caught and prevented the file from running."
The techniques used to exploit the Macbook Air do not differ that much from those used against those browsing the Web on Windows machines, which shows that the attack was not targeted. All it required to succeed were an unpatched system and unsafe online behavior on the user's part.
If you want accurate details behind the NBC News story, then read Wilhoit's white paper, From Russia with Love: Behind the Trend Micro-NBC News Honeypots [pdf]. Although the NBC Sochi hacking story might apply to some technically-challenged users, I don't think most "regular" users ignore all security wisdom.
Source: Network World
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