The Winter Olympics’ systems were hacked during Friday’s opening ceremony

A spokesperson for the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics organizing committee has confirmed that the Games fell victim to hackers just prior to the opening ceremony.

The website for the Games crashed, with visitors unable to print tickets or view information for about 12 hours. 

Since no official word was forthcoming on the day, speculation was rife that the outage was not accidental. The news of the hack was made official the next day.

"We know the cause of that problem, but [these kinds] of issues occur very frequently during the Olympic Games," Pyeongchang organising committee spokesman Sung Baik-you said on Saturday.

The attack compromised the Games’ internet protocol televisions at the press center. To avoid further damage, organizers shut down the servers, resulting in the website going down.


Details of the attack are as yet unclear with the IOC and the organizers remaining tight-lipped about the source. 

"We have decided with the IOC that we are not going to reveal the source," added Sung Baik-you during the press conference. "All issues were resolved and recovered yesterday morning."

The IOC’s head of communication Mark Adams was also unforthcoming regarding the details, saying, “At the moment we are making sure our systems are secure, which they are, so discussing details of it is not helpful.”

Thankfully, the website was up and running again by 8am local time on Saturday morning. Reports have suggested that sponsors were prepared for such an attack, with some having insured themselves against hacking.

[Image courtesy Kārlis Dambrāns]

Sharmishta Sarkar
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