For one reason or another, hackers love the Olympics just as much as the casual sports fan.

The 2018 Pyeongchang games started off with a massive cyber-attack that those watching at home may not have been aware of. The attack, which was forged by an unidentified hacker (presumably either Russia or North Korea) causing internet protocol TVs to malfunction at the main press center, which was countered by organizers shutting down the games' servers to prevent additional damage.

With the Olympics servers offline, Wi-Fi at the Olympic Stadium and the website went down, preventing attendees from printing tickets to events.

The opening ceremony was to feature drones filming the ceremony, but those were unable to deploy.

The source of the cyber-attack was not revealed, but organizers and the IOC have an idea of who orchestrated the attack.  However, they won’t point the finger, instead citing poor international best-practices.

Why the Olympics?

The Olympics are a high-profile international event with a concentrated number of visitors spending money. This year’s Olympics have an added political twist, with the involvement of North Korea.

The IOC has a host of confidential information held on its servers, including details on athletes and doping test results, while executing malware attacks on casual fans with click-bait materials can also be lucrative to hackers.

Some hackers may have a political agenda, while others just see an opportunity to extract information from several people at once.

In the case of the opening ceremony hack, the aim was to disrupt the games and embarrass both the home country and the IOC.

How Does the IOC Address Cyber Attacks?

Improving cyber security measures at the games has been a top priority from the IOC, as they have caused several issues in the past. The Pyeongchang games were the latest victims, with the 2012 London and 2016 Rio Summer Olympics also impacted by intrusion attempts and hacks disclosing personal data of athletes.

Increased connectivity and the use of newer technology has made the Olympics more vulnerable than ever before, and attacks can be orchestrated to impact stadium operations, infrastructure, broadcasts, participants and visitors in the host country.

The IOC is utilizing a hybrid cloud model to support the games with all critical IT systems hosted on Atos, and is integrating modern IoT, big data, A1 and cloud technologies into front and back-end systems creating a lot of moving parts to keep track of.  

It is obvious that the IOC and their partners is certainly taking the necessary measures to prevent future attacks from crippling the games, but will not comment on specific measures they are taking to protect their digital infrastructure.

Hackers Can Target Anyone

While the Olympics are a large-scale, global event, sophisticated hackers are apt to get their hands on anyone who exhibits a vulnerability, and this includes small businesses. Just because you’re small doesn’t mean you don't need to be protected. As a full-service managed IT provider, ThrottleNet can ensure your business is equipped to handle anything thrown your way. Contact us today to learn more about our managed services and security solutions for small business.