- Winter Olympics organizers say a cyberattack hit their computer servers during the opening ceremonies, Yonhap reported on Saturday.
- The attack only affected “non-critical systems,” the organizers said.
- Cybersecurity firms said they uncovered computer malware they called “Olympic Destroyer.”
- The cyberattack follows a string of previous incidents involving various Winter Olympics computer systems, including a spying operation that is believed to have originated from North Korea.
Winter Olympics organizers say their computer servers experienced a cyberattack during opening ceremonies, Yonhap reported on Saturday.
Organizers said that internet-connected televisions crashed at the press center, according to officials cited by the report. The targeted servers were shut down, which also took down the official Winter Olympics website for some time.
The committee said in a statement that the attack only affected “non-critical systems” and said the safety of attendees was not compromised.
Cybersecurity firms on Monday said they uncovered computer malware they called “Olympic Destroyer.” According to experts, the malware’s aim is to delete backup files on a computer and meddle with boot-up files needed to power up a computer, Axios reported on Monday.
Experts speculated that the malware would be able to spread to other computers on the same network, and that the attackers may have stolen the network’s credentials prior to programming it into the malware, Axios reported.
The Winter Olympics were hit by cyberattacks in the days leading up to the opening ceremony, with some experts estimating that over 300 Olympics-related computer systems were affected.
Though it may take months to figure out who is responsible for the attacks and why they were executed, experts say the evidence points to the “hallmarks of a nation state,” The New York Times reported.
In a previous cyberattack, documents from Winter Olympics organizations were stolen and leaked by a campaign tied to Russia, while North Korea has also been suspected of spying on the event’s various organizations, a Wired report said.
Hacker groups originating from Russia have been on the radar for some time. Russian athletes were prohibited from officially representing the country during the Winter Olympics after a state-sponsored doping scandal, a ban which some believe may be a possible motive for the cyberattacks.
Fancy Bear, a Russian hacker group that reportedly has ties to the 2016 hack on the Democratic National Committee, is believed to have infiltrated Olympic-affiliated systems in November and December – around the same time the “Olympic Destroyer” malware was compiled, Axios reported.
“The Olympics involve so many countries, and so many sports, many of which have their own infrastructure, that it has become a rich target environment for many adversaries,” John Hultquist, a director at the cyber security firm FireEye, said in The Times.