‘Olympic Destroyer’ malware targeted Pyeongchang Games, firms say

Performers appear during the opening ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympics at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea February 9, 2018. — Reuters pic
Performers appear during the opening ceremonies at the 2018 Winter Olympics at the Pyeongchang Olympic Stadium in Pyeongchang, South Korea February 9, 2018. — Reuters pic

SAN FRANCISCO, Feb 13 — Several US cyber security firms said yesterday 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. Organisers 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 yesterday 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 WiFi used by reporters covering the games did not work during the opening ceremony, according to Cisco.

Drones that were intended to be used in the programme failed to deploy, prompting organisers to insert pre-recorded footage of the drones in global telecasts.

It was not immediately clear if the issue with the drones was caused by the cyberattack. — Reuters

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