The Olympic Games in PyeongChang, South Korea, are drawing an element from all over the world besides athletes: Cyber attackers. Experts believe the biggest security threat to the Games may be virtual.
Cyber criminals have long targeted Olympic Games. At the Beijing, London and Brazil events, officials recorked millions of attempted attacks a day – some were successful. They were mostly low-level scams involving the stealing of tickets or money. But experts believe attacks at the games in South Korea may have more harmful goals like interrupting a TV broadcast or power during an event.
The attacks also originate with nation-states. In 2016, a group associated with the Russian government hacked and released sensitive data of the drug use of Olympic athletes. Many believe it was retribution for the World Anti-Doping Agency, the Olympics’ drug watchdog, recommending Russian athletes be banned from the Rio games for massive banned-substance abuse.
The Department of Homeland Security has issued an alert to anyone traveling to the Games that cyber criminals could be targeting personal information. “There is also the possibility that mobile or other communications will be monitored,” the alert said.
The International Olympic Committee does not disclose publicly steps they are taking to protect the Games from cyber intrusion, but did say that cybersecurity is a “top priority.”