The opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics was a chance for athletes across the globe to proudly wave the flag of their nation and welcome the beginning of a time-honoured tradition of friendly competition. However, it also became an opportunity for another highly skilled subset of the population of the planet to exhibit their skills— specifically, the hackers.
According to Yonhap News, the South Korean news agency, servers that belong to the organisers of the 2018 Olympic were hacked during February 9 opening ceremony of this year. As a result, the televisions that were set up in the main press centre are reported to have malfunctioned.
As a response to the attack of the hackers, the organisers shortly shut down their own servers thus, putting the website of the Pyeongchang 2018 offline in the process temporarily.
Currently, not enough information is known regarding the individual or group of individuals who are behind the said attack. However, it is not surprising that the Olympics and some of its related organisations are a primary target for hackers. The World Anti-Doping Agency admitted in 2016 to being the victim of a hack, revealing that hackers from Russia had stolen some confidential medical information that is pertaining to the athletes.
On top of that, officials of the Olympics have long anticipated that the games of this year were going to present a whole new cybersecurity challenge. For example, last January, McAfee, a security firm, revealed the existence of a hacking campaign that is targeting organisations that are affiliated with the Olympics. McAfee also noted that more was possible to come.
In a report, the company stated: “With the upcoming Olympics, we expect to see an increase in cyber attacks using Olympics-related themes.
“In similar past cases, the victims were targeted for their passwords and financial information. In this case, the adversary is targeting the organisations involved in the Winter Olympics by using several techniques to make it more tempting to open the weaponised document.”
Thus, the hack during the opening ceremony might just be the first of many that the people see over the course of the 2018 Olympic Games.