Olympics are an irresistible target for cybercriminals

Russia banned through 2018 Winter Olympics

The Olympic Games are a massive draw, not only for sports fans, however also for cybercriminals.

the item’s a high-profile event taking place in a concentrated location which attracts large numbers of visitors, many of whom will be spending a lot of money.

The Winter Games kicking off Friday in Pyeongchang, South Korea, are no exception.

Billed as a sports extravaganza, the Olympics are also infused with politics as governments along with activists seek to take advantage of the global stage. which’s especially true in Pyeongchang, where tensions have built up over North Korea’s involvement.

Related: Americans aren’t going to the Olympics. Here’s why

All of This kind of makes the Games a prime target for cyberattacks — through thieves or spies.

Here’s what hackers are going after — along with how fans can protect themselves:

Hacking the Games themselves

Computer systems connected to the Olympics have been compromised from the past.

In 2016, Russian hackers broke into a World-Anti Doping Agency database through an account created by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for the Summer Games in Rio. The group stole information about star American athletes like Simone Biles along with Venus Williams.

“Some attackers have a political intent — they can attack the organization,” said Seongsu Park, a researcher with cybersecurity firm Kaspersky.

They would certainly be trying to get hold of confidential information, he said. which could include details on athletes along with doping tests like those stolen by the Russian hackers.

The IOC declined provide details on the steps the item takes to protect the Games through hackers, however said in a statement which cybersecurity has long been “a top priority.”

Related: Team USA’s Olympic uniforms are wearable heaters

In recent years, the IOC along with host countries have ramped up cybersecurity efforts, as the range of threats against the Games have expanded.

A nightmare possibility for athletes along with organizers would certainly be hackers manipulating computers to mess with scoring systems, however cybersecurity experts say which’s an unlikely scenario.

“Those timing systems are generally run independently,” said Nick Savvides, chief technology officer for Asia with cybersecurity firm Symantec. “the item’s generally difficult to manipulate results.”

Watch out for cyber-pickpockets

The Olympics are a “fantastic opportunity for cybercriminals to steal people’s identification, take money out of their wallets,” Savvides said.

There are plenty of scams on social media offering free tickets or tickets to fake competitions, targeting fans before they even set foot on a plane to attend the Games.

over time, most people have become tech savvy enough to ignore scams sent via email. however many are still tricked by links which friends might share on Twitter (TWTR) or Instagram.

Those links will often be sharing malware, according to Savvides.

“More than likely those scams, they’ll harvest information — ‘register for our site to get behind the scenes action’ — those sorts of scams will hit social media, be careful of those,” he said.

Related: Katie Couric returns to NBC to co-host the Olympics

Social media obsessed spectators may be tempted to post photos of their Olympics tickets on Instagram or Snapchat (SNAP). Don’t do which, particularly if those tickets have barcodes or different scannable features.

“Those barcodes have a lot of information about you as a person along with traveler,” Savvides warned.

Once people are at the Olympics, the knee-jerk reaction, especially for international visitors, can be to look for free WiFi.

At Pyeongcheong, there will be plenty of wireless spots available. South Korea can be a well-connected country with some of the fastest internet speeds from the planet.

which means going online will basically be like using the shared WiFi network at a coffee shop — however in This kind of case, the item’s the equivalent of the planet’s biggest coffee shop.

“Any attacker can make fake internet access points,” said Kaspersky’s Park.

He advises anyone interacting with Olympics-related websites to make sure they have installed or updated antivirus software on their laptops along with smartphones.

Related: The first controversy of the Winter Olympics — along with the item’s over a coin toss

The U.S. Department of Homeland Security advises Americans traveling to the Games to switch off WiFi along with Bluetooth connections when they’re not in use.

“When using a public or unsecured wireless connection, avoid using sites along with applications which require personal information like log-ins,” the department says.

Savvides also suggests getting a virtual private network, or VPN.

A VPN “sets up a protected tunnel along that has a trusted end point somewhere else from the planet, along with anyone snooping on which network will see encrypted text, not what you’re actually doing,” he said.

Spy games

Cybersecurity firm McAfee uncovered a cyberattack last month which was targeting organizations affiliated with the Pyeongchang Games.

Hackers used a phishing campaign to try along with trick victims with Korean language emails, suggesting South Korean organizations were the targets.

Messages containing infected documents were sent to “icehockey@pyeongchang2018.com,” with hundreds of different Olympics-related targets blind copied on the emails.

The attack was a success, said Raj Samani, chief scientist along with fellow at McAfee.

“We were able to confirm which connections through compromised systems were made — indicating which some of the targets fell for the attack,” he said.

Related: Samsung caught in storm over phones for Iran’s Olympic team

While McAfee didn’t identify the origin or the goal of the campaign, Samani didn’t rule out a potential link to North Korea, which has been accused of a long list of cyberattacks in recent years, many of them in South Korea.

“We are not confirming the specific source because using technical indicators alone can be not conclusive. However, we believe This kind of was a nation state actor with Korean language skills,” he said.

North Korea has repeatedly denied involvement in international cyberattacks.

McAfee said earlier This kind of week which the item expects more Olympics-themed phishing in which hackers can potentially gain “access to customer along with employee financial or personal data, Winter Games related details, trade secrets, along with more.”

To guard against such espionage attacks, the best defense can be for organizations to know their enemy.

“the item can be imperative to review the latest techniques being adopted by potential adversaries,” Samani said.

sy88pgw (Hong Kong) First published February 9, 2018: 4:44 AM ET

Olympics are an irresistible target for cybercriminals

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