The 2018 Winter Olympics fell victim to a cyberattack before the games even had the chance to begin. Malware that has been dubbed the “Olympic Destroyer” affected Friday’s Winter Olympics opening ceremony.
Olympic Organizers confirmed the attack on Sunday, stating that the attack affected internet and television services, but did not compromise critical operations. The attack shut down display monitors, WiFi for the media, and took the Olympics website down so that visitors could not print tickets. Overall, the attack resulted in 12 hours of downtime on the official Olympics website.
What’s the Damage?
Researchers with cyber-security firms are saying that the Olympic Destroyer was designed to knock computers offline by deleting critical files, which would render the machines useless. It has been thought by researchers that the intent of this attack wasn’t to steal information, but to disrupt the games and embarrass Olympic officials.
The researchers have also said that the cybercriminals may have had access to Winter Olympics credentials before carrying out the attack. Reports also stated that some of the communications channels used in this attack were similar to ones used in ransomware attacks such as BadRabbit and Wannacry cousin Nyetya.
Who’s Behind the Olympic Destroyer?
Though no country has stepped forward to claim the attack, the International Olympic Committee has agreed not to reveal the source. Mark Adams, the International Olympic Committee’s head of communication said, “We don’t reveal details in public because actually at the moment, we are making sure that our systems are secure, which they are, so discussing details is not helpful,” he said. “But we will have a full report and, I guess, it will be made public.”
There has been speculation about Russia’s involvement in the attack due to issues before the games. Leading up the beginning of the games, cyber-security experts warned that Russian hackers may strike as revenge after many of their athletes and coaches were banned from participating in the Winter Olympics following doping allegations. At this time, Russian officials have discounted any claims of their involvement.
What’s the Result?
Though the attack could’ve been much worse, the Olympics committee ensured the security of their systems for the rest of the games. Cyber attacks weren’t of any concern back in 1924 during the first Winter Olympics. Unfortunately, in 2018 cyber attacks are a very real concern for events and businesses alike. If there was an event in the Olympics for cyber attacks, the criminals behind this would have taken home the gold this year.
This attack has created the fear that there are gold medal-winning cyber criminals out there. In reality, these criminals can be after a lot more than embarrassment on an international level. Cyber attacks can be implemented for various reasons, but the best way to prevent falling victim to an attack is to be proactive. These criminals aren’t always after large events, even SMB’s need IT services on their team to protect against an attack. It's time to go for the gold when it comes to having an IT service backing up your business.
SumnerOne is ready to take your business to gold medal-winning status when it comes to protecting your network. Contact us for a security assessment.
Originally published February 13, 2018, updated April 20, 2018