Winter Olympics hacked? Cybersecurity team investigating possible attack at Pyeongchang

Games organisers say internet and Wi-fi systems were almost back to normal about 15 hours after problems discovered before opening ceremony

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 10 February, 2018, 1:13pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 10 February, 2018, 1:13pm

Pyeongchang Olympic organisers are investigating a possible attack on their internet and Wi-fi systems that took place about 45 minutes before the opening ceremony.

Organising committee spokeswoman Nancy Park said the defence ministry and a cybersecurity team were investigating the outage that occurred on Friday night.

“It didn’t affect the opening ceremony,” Park said. “It went as planned. We just had some issue with our internal systems, but we are working to normalise that.”

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She said the systems were almost back to normal about 15 hours after the problems were discovered.

South Korea’s Yonhap news agency reported that servers were shut down to prevent damage to technical systems, causing problems with the Pyeongchang Olympic website.

Park declined to call it a cyberattack and said she did not want to speak in detail since organisers were still trying to identify the cause.

“We don’t want to speculate right now,” she said. “It’s not good to guess.”

She said the outage affected only “non-core” systems and had no effect on “the actual events” during Saturday’s first full day of competition.

Organisers suggested technical problems might have been caused by the mountainous region in which the Olympics are based.

Security experts have cautioned that large events like the Olympics are targets for hacking, even in a country like South Korea, which produces some of the world’s most sophisticated technology.