Saturday, June 15

Cyber Attackers Interrupt Olympic Opening Ceremony

If you watched the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics earlier in February, you might have noticed something was a little off.

According to the New York Times, a cyber attack caused problems for the airing of the opening ceremony. The attack took out internet access, grounded drones, shut down the Olympics website, interrupted telecast, and even prevented some spectators from attending the ceremony. The attack even caused ticket printing issues, which meant more than a few people were unable to attend the event.

Security experts say that the attack had actually been in the works since late last year and that it was directed at the Pyeongchang Organizing Committee to disrupt the Winter Games, or potentially even send a political message.

Luckily, there was no damage to any computers or files, aside from ones that had been backed up on Windows machines. Researchers say even though the hackers had the opportunity to completely wipe everything out, they didn’t. They even gave officials the opportunity to regain all of their lost, backed-up information and fix any potential damage. CBS News says the attackers did, however, gain access to credentials that belonged to Olympic officials. Unfortunately, this allowed the attackers to temporarily cause chaos right before the opening ceremony began. Many people turned the blame on Russia, who had been banned from the Olympic Games for doping. However, Russia denied their involvement in the attack, regardless of evidence stating that Russian-backed hackers might have been planning the attack as a form of retaliation.

Olympic Games spokesman Sung Baik-you spoke about the attack’s origin.

“We know the cause of the problem, but that kind of issue occurs frequently during the Games,” Sung said. “We decided with the IOC we are not going to reveal the source [of the attack].”

Typically, between 75% and 80% of all attacks come from within an organization, not from an external threat. However, it is unclear at this time who actually planned and executed the attack. Olympic officials are slightly familiar with cyber-attacks impacting Opening Ceremonies, as this wasn’t the first one that was targeted. The same kind of incident occurred during the 2012 London Games.

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