Winter Olympic Games organizers have confirmed that while there was a cyber attack during the opening ceremony on Friday, it didn’t affect any critical elements of the event or its broadcast.
According to Reuters, both internet and television services were impacted by the attack. Organizers have refused to give any specific data about the hack.
“Maintaining secure operations is our purpose,” said International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman Mark Adams. “We are not going to comment on the issue. It is one we are dealing with. We are making sure our systems are secure and they are secure.”
When questioned about who was behind the attack, Adams said, “I certainly don’t know, but best international practice says that you don’t talk about an attack.”
While organizers might not be willing to speculate, there are suspects. The Games are being held a mere 50 miles from the border with North Korea, which considers itself at war with South Korea. The two nations’ teams marched together at the opening ceremony for the first time since 2006, however, and sources say South Korea is hoping the games will help improve relations with its neighbor.
“All issues were resolved and recovered yesterday morning,” Pyeongchang organizing committee spokesman Sung Baik-you told reporters. “We know the cause of the problem but that kind of issue occurs frequently during the Games. We decided with the IOC we are not going to reveal the source [of the attack].”
In addition, cybersecurity researchers had warned that Russia-based hackers could be planning attacks in retaliation of its exclusion from competition due to doping. Russia noted just a few days before the opening ceremony, saying that any allegations linking it to cyber attacks on the Games were unfounded.
“We know 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’s foreign ministry said. “Of course, no evidence will be presented to the world.”