Russian spies reportedly hacked numerous computers used at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
United States intelligence said that Russian spies went on a hacking spree and infiltrated several hundred computers used by authorities at the Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
The hacking incident allegedly happened during the Opening Ceremonies of the Olympic Games and was initially suspected to be the deed of North Korea. However, two U.S. officials who refused to be named said that the act was the work of Russian military spies.
It should be noted that earlier this month, cybersecurity firm McAfee has revealed that cybercriminals had already targeted the Winter Olympics months ago. This prompted the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to issue a warning to all American citizens attending the Games.
In an effort to prevent potential attacks, the Olympic Committee’s Security Command allegedly tightened its cybersecurity. But, the attempt to thwart any hacking attack obviously failed. Though authorities in charge of the Games refused to confirm Russia’s direct participation, they did acknowledge that a cyberattack hit the Opening Ceremonies.#Russianspies allegedly hacked the Opening Ceremonies of the 2018 Winter Olympics and tried to blame North Korea for it. Officials now feared that the Closing Ceremonies today might also be disrupted.Click To Tweet
Russian Spies Attacked the Olympics
According to The Washington Post, there have been disruptions to the Internet during the Winter Olympic Opening Ceremonies. The broadcast systems and the Olympic website were also affected that night. Furthermore, many attendees of the event were not able to print their tickets, resulting in many empty seats.
Russia has been the center of controversy before and during the Winter Olympics event due to its many doping violations. In fact, the International Olympic Committee has banned the country from competing in the Games. Officials of the Russian Olympic Federation were also prohibited from attending the competition.
Some Russian athletes were allowed to compete but under the designation “Olympic Athletes from Russia.” However, they were not allowed to display the Russian flag on their uniforms, and if they won any medal, their country’s national anthem was not played.
These sanctions, according to experts, could potentially be the reason behind the attacks. The Washington Post further reported that the Russian military agency GRU had gained access to as many as 300 Olympic computers earlier this month.
The intelligence report, which has not been publicly confirmed yet by any government agency, is said to be consistent with “reports from private-sector analysts who have said they saw signs Russia had targeted the 2018 Olympics.” Some officials also aired their concern that Russia may also attempt to disrupt today’s Closing Ceremonies.
“It’s essentially a Korean problem,” one of the two anonymous U.S. officials allegedly said. “We will help the Koreans as requested.”
It was also said that the GRU Russian spies hacked several routers in South Korea last month before deploying a new malware the day the Olympics began.
“Anyone who controls a router would be able to redirect traffic for one or more selected targets or cause total disruption in the network by stopping the routing entirely,” Jake Williams, a former NSA operative, said. “Development of router malware is extremely costly, and Russia would likely use it only in locations where it contributes to accomplishing a high-value goal.”
This is not the first time that Russia got involved with Olympic Games sabotage. During the 2016 Summer Olympics, the same Russian spies allegedly penetrated the database containing the drug test results and other medical information of all the participating athletes. They then publicly posted the information of some noteworthy U.S. athletes including Simone Biles, Elena Delle Donne, and tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams.