Hackers attacked the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea, organizers confirmed. The attacks were allegedly carried out by Russia following a doping ban, but the organizers made no comments, writes the Guardian. Soon after the event started on Friday, the official website went offline for 12 hours, and the stadium’s Wi-Fi stopped working, along with television and network connections in the press center.
“There was a cyberattack and the server was updated yesterday during the day and we have the cause of the problem,” said Sung Baik-you, a spokesperson for the Olympics. “They know what happened and this is a usual thing during the Olympic Games.
“We are not going to reveal the source,” he said. “We are taking secure operations and, in line with best practice, we’re not going to comment on the issue because it is an issue that we are dealing with. We wouldn’t start giving you the details of an investigation before it is coming to an end, particularly if it was on security which, at these games, is incredibly important.”
International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams has not yet commented on the source of the attack but he assured users that their systems are secure.
When asked about accusations that Russia is behind the cyberattack, Russia’s foreign ministry said there was no evidence to present. In addition, he knew “that Western media are planning pseudo-investigations on the theme of ‘Russian fingerprints’ in hacking attacks on information resources related to the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea.”
Russia appealed the ban, arguing they had been unjustly eliminated from the competition, decimating their Olympics team. Their appeal was rejected at the last minute and resulted in the exclusion of around 47 coaches and athletes, including Viktor Ahn, a six-time Olympic gold medalist.
The Pyeongchang Winter Olympics take place some 80 kms from the North Korean border, in a complicated political context as the two states are on hostile terms, and South maintains close ties to the US.