Winter Olympic Games 2018 cyber attack

At the 2018 Winter Olympic Games, Russian military programmers were observed hacking hundreds of Olympic computers, and tried to give the impression that the hacks were carried out by North Korea. As reported by The Washington Post, this seems to be an act of vengeance against the International Olympic Committee (IOC) by Russia. In an earlier occasion too, the Russian team was banned from taking part in the Winter Olympic Games due to violations on account of doping.

Some anonymous U.S. officials told The Post that Russian military agency GRU conducted the whole “false-flag” operation. As a part of their fraudulent operations, Russian programmers got access to hundreds of Olympic-related computers, in addition to routers. They conducted the whole exercise in South Korea. The reports further revealed that at the beginning of February, Russian military hackers got access to near about 300 Olympic-related computers. Furthermore, GRU cyber-operators, in continuation of their fraudulent exercises, also hacked routers in South Korea and installed new malware on the beginning day of Winter Olympics.

Moreover, it was not evidently clear that the cyber attack which was planned during the opening ceremony was due to infected routers that interrupted the internet and broadcasting systems. As a preventive measure, the Olympic administrators managed to slow down the servers so that the damage can be thwarted. As a result of that, the Winter Olympics website went down, thereby, causing an inconvenience to some viewers who were not able to get a print out of their tickets.

Olympic Games spokesman Sung Baik-you too reiterated that they were aware of the cyber-attack, but they are not going to take any action to identify the source of the attack. According to Rendition Infosec’s Jake Williams, who worked in the past for NSA, disclosed that there is a possibility of redirecting traffic for one or more preferred target by anyone controlling the router. This can result in the total interruption in the network by suspending the routing. As the development of router malware is not cheap and very costly, only a strong country like Russia would probably make use of it in order to achieve a high-value target.

The above hacking incident by Russia is now being suspected to repeat as another attack during the concluding ceremony of the Olympic Games. This is for the reason that Russian athletes, during this ceremony, were not permitted to march past under their own flag.

It is pertinent to mention here that, in the past in 2014; a team of 168 Russians participated in the Winter Games, but were declared neutral Olympic Athletes from Russia (OAR) on account of doping incident at Sochi. They won the price in the form of ice hockey gold, and also flouted the ban by singing the Russian national anthem during the medal awarding ceremony. Stating on the Russia’s ban, IOC president Thomas Bach said the doping incident at Sochi was an unusual attack on the honor of the Olympic Games and sportsmanship. For the concluding ceremony, the IOC was thinking about lifting the ban imposed on Russia. But this could not happen, in view of the fact that two Russian athletes failed the mandatory drugs tests for this Olympics, and, therefore, the ban was not lifted. For that reason, the athletes could not display the Russian flag or wear their national colors during the final ceremony.

On the other hand, Bach also informed that there is no proof of systemic doping and no confirmation that Russian Olympic Committee is highly involved in these activities.

The New York Times has reported that the Olympic Committee (IOC) proposed to welcome Russia back as a developed Olympic nation, provided that the drug tests on their athletes were negative.


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