It’s not uncommon for a major public event to be targeted by hackers, the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics included. With so many spectators, athletes, and public figures gathered in one place, the Olympic Games is a prime hacking target. Back in 2014, spectators of the Sochi Olympics experienced mobile device problems that were believed to be caused by hackers spying on cell phones.
With the recent hacking attempts, the Pyeongchang Olympics is being dubbed, “The Most Hacked Olympic Game In History.”
Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics Opening Ceremony Hack
On February 9th, right before the Olympic Opening Ceremony, there was a cyberattack on the event. The malware is called “Olympic Destroyer,” which stopped the event’s IT systems. This resulted in displays not working, no Wi-Fi, and the official Olympic website being down.
Cisco’s Talos researcher Warren Mercer describes the malware, “It was effectively a worm within the Olympic infrastructure that caused a denial-of-service attack.” In layman’s terms, the Olympic Destroyer was designed to target and destroy specific data on machines, with the ability to move from one machine to another.
After some investigating by Cisco, it was found that the malware used was targeting a list of 44 usernames and passwords on PyeongChang2018.com.
Initially, Olympic committee officials said the problems were due to too many spectators near drones that were going to be used during the ceremony. Later on, they revealed that there was an attack, but didn’t disclose the source of it. However, it is highly suspected that either a Russia or North Korea hacking group is behind it.
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Hacking Threats Before The 2018 Winter Olympics Started
Even before the Opening Ceremony, the Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics was being targeted by hacker groups. First, a Russian group was found to have stolen and leaked Olympic organization documents. The second was a North Korean hacker group known as Gold Dragon.
McAfee, known for their antivirus software, has investigated and researched the Gold Dragon group. This group was found to be targeting South Korean Olympic organizations at least a month prior to the Winter Olympics. They tried to infect their intended targets’ machines with malware by sending fake emails with the address “[email protected]” in the “to” line.McAfee revealed that some South Korean targets included tourism companies, transportation, and key Olympic departments.
Read more about these pre-Winter Olympics hacking incidents and watch the video below.
The Pyeongchang 2018 Olympics being targeted by hackers doesn’t come as surprise. It is a popular worldwide event watched and attended by millions. Knowing that the Olympics is a common target, it would be interesting to find out what security precautions event officials took to prevent a cyberattack.
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