A cyberattack that bogged down the Winter Olympics opening ceremony in Pyeongchang was reportedly launched by Russian hackers, not North Korea.
The hackers — leading a purported “false-flag” operation against South Korea’s reclusive neighbor — broke into hundreds of computers using North Korean IP addresses prior to the Feb. 9 ceremony, the Washington Post reported Saturday, citing two U.S. officials.
Leading up to the Olympics, cyber security researchers believed that Russian hackers would retaliate against the International Olympic Committee, which disqualified athletes and stripped some of their medals for doping violations in the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics.
Any Russian athletes that were allowed to attend the Korean Olympics were prohibited from competing under their country’s flag or anthem.
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The hack caused widespread internet disruptions about 45 minutes prior to the ceremony on February 9. Some attendees, the Post learned, were unable to print their tickets as a result and missed the festivities.
Highlights from the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang
The outage ended about 15 hours after it was discovered, a member of the Pyeongchang organizing committee said, and did not impact the opening ceremony or competitions.
Within two days of the hack, an Olympic official said he knew “the cause of the problem,” and the source, but refused to divulge more. He said “that kind of (issue) occurs frequently during the Games.”
The Kremlin denied accusations that their hackers were linked to the cyberattack on Olympic infrastructure.
With News Wire Services
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