Olympics Officials Confirm Opening Ceremony Cyber Attack

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Officials of the 2018 Winter Olympics was able to identify suspicious activity on the Olympics systems opening ceremony of the games, and now it has just been confirmed that it was a cyber attack. The organisers in PyeongChang have disclosed that someone was able to compromise the services (including TV and internet) while the participating athletes were on parade. However, spokesperson Sung Baik-you said that everything had already been “resolved and recovered” by the 9th. He added that they were aware of the cause of the said attack. However, he said that they were “not going to reveal the source” following discussions with the International Olympics Committee.

It is tempting accuse Russia of the attack as the country has been prohibited from participating in the Winter Olympics over the doping program of the nation, and security researchers had discovered hints that hackers that are based in Russia might likely disrupt the games as revenge. Russia has already attempted to head off the accusations by saying that the Western press will initiate “pseudo-investigations” without proper evidence. However, its word brings limited weight when it already has a history of dismissing all attacks despite proofs. Russian hackers that are sponsored by the state are known to have leaked the files of the athletes in the wake of the summer games in Rio last 2016.

While North Korea is only 50 miles away from PyeongChang and has notoriety for state-sponsored hacks (which includes those against the South), it does not have much reason to target the games as athletes from the North are competing in the Olympics alongside those who are from the South. Also, it took advantage of the games to offer a summit between Kim Jong-un, its ruler, and the Moon Jae-in, the President of South Korea. Any hacks on the part of the North would impair their bid for peace.

Whoever is responsible for the hack, the cyber attack is already considered as a sign of the times: even a competition that is focused on global harmony is not safe from digital intruders, whether they are private or supported by the government. If anything, the high profile of the games represents a great opportunity for hackers to make a statement.