Further cyber attacks on Olympics website could occur, says researchers

The official Winter Olympics website was taken offline after being hit by a cyber attack which hit before the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

At the Games internet and TV systems were also disturbed, and its operations were restored 12 hours later.

Kaspersky Lab researchers found that at the 2008 Beijing Games, around 190 million cyber attacks were reported (12 million per day).

The multinational cyber security and anti-virus provider also found that at the 2012 London Games, cyber criminals made over 200 million failed attacks on the event’s official website. At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, 322 million attacks were reported, followed by 570 million at the 2016 Rio Olympics.

Manipulation of data analytics

Experts at Kaspersky Lab warn that further attacks at the Olympics could occur:

  • Cyber attacks on online services for ticketing, reservations, seating, hotels, transport services and food orders (compromise or denial of service)
  • Attacks on country infrastructure, water treatment/distribution, power/electricity, transport/airlines, banking, e-government services
  • Attacks and manipulation of judges/judging systems, data and/or scoring decisions
  • Attacks and manipulation of athlete monitoring (performance enhancement drugs) or monitoring sensors (which are used to enhance their exercising programmes and their results)
  • Manipulation of data analytics systems and algorithms (which help predict traffic, population density, weather, water/power/storage demands).

‘Combat the threats around us’

Mohamad Amin Hasbini, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, commented: “Because of the extensive use of technology at the Games, it has attracted a high number of hackers trying to find a way of breaking the systems and causing havoc.

“This creates a situation where cyber security challenges are not only an issue of safety but also provide the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we are able to successfully combat the threats around us.”

Written by Leah Alger