The UK National Cyber Security Centre has disclosed a joint operation with US intelligence agencies revealing Russian hackers attempted to disrupt the world’s largest major sporting event.
The Foreign Office said Russia’s military intelligence service (GRU), conducted cyber reconnaissance against officials and organisations at the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games before they were postponed.
Although officials did not detail the nature or extent of the attacks, previous accusations have been levelled against Russia for cyber strikes directed at agencies conducting inquiries into Russain sports doping.
Russian competitors had been excluded from competing at Tokyo 2020 due to persistent state-sponsored doping offences.
Although the Tokyo Games’ organising committee said that there was “no significant impact observed” from cyber-attacks on its operations, the UK’s Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab said: “the GRU’s actions against the Olympic and Paralympic Games are cynical and reckless. We condemn then in the strongest possible terms.
“The UK will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter future malicious cyber attacks.”
Foreign Office officials also disclosed details of a previously reported Russian attempt to disrupt the 2018 winter Olympics and Paralympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
According to the UK, the GRU launched an attack on the opening ceremony of the 2018 winter Games, bringing down the website to deny ticket sales, and crashing the wifi in the stadium.
The UK government also asserts that the cyber-attacks are part of a pattern by the Russian State targeting a range of countries including Georgia, the US, Ukraine and the UK.
Author: Charlie Farmer