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‘Olympic Destroyer’ malware targeted PyeongChang Winter Olympics 2018: US firms

The discovered malware had affected internet and television services, and even took the Olympics website offline.

tech Updated: Feb 13, 2018 13:06 IST
Pyeongchang Winter Games,Pyeongchang Winter Olympics 2018,Winter Olympics 2018
US cyber security firms haven’t found the attackers behind the attack as yet(Benjamin Howell/iStockphoto)

Several US cyber security firms said on Monday that they had uncovered a computer virus dubbed “Olympic Destroyer” that was likely used in an attack on Friday’s opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

Games Organisers confirmed the attack on Sunday, saying that it affected internet and television services but did not compromise critical operations. Organizers did not say who was behind the attack or provide detailed discussion of the malware, though a spokesman said that all issues had been resolved as of Saturday.

Researchers with cyber security firms Cisco Systems Inc, CrowdStrike and FireEye Inc said in blog posts and statements to Reuters on Monday that they had analysed computer code they believed was used in Friday’s attack.

All three security companies said the Olympic Destroyer malware was designed to knock computers offline by deleting critical system files, which would render the machines useless.

The three firms said they did not know who was behind the attack.

“Disruption is the clear objective in this type of attack and it leaves us confident in thinking that the actors behind this were after embarrassment of the Olympic committee during the opening ceremony,” Cisco said in its blog.

The attack took the Olympics website offline, which meant that some people could not print out tickets and Wi-Fi used by reporters covering the games did not work during the opening ceremony, according to Cisco.

The attack did not affect the performance of drones, which were initially scheduled to be included in the opening ceremony, but later pulled from the program, organizers said in a statement.

The drone light show was cancelled because there were too many spectators standing in the area where it was supposed to take place, the statement said.

The Olympic Winter Games started on February 9 and will continue till February 25 in PyeongChang County, South Korea. The Winter Games features 102 events across 15 sports, including Skiing, Skating, Luge, Ski Jumping, Ice Hockey, Snow Boarding, among others.

First Published: Feb 13, 2018 10:18 IST