Winter Olympics may have faced around 50 million cyber attacks every day

Published on: 5 Mar 2018

An estimated 700 million cyber attacks may have been carried out during the recent 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang - this works out at 50 million a day.

The number of cyber attacks has increased significantly with each Summer and Winter Olympics, starting with around 190 million during the 2008 Beijing Games, rising to more than 200 million failed attacks on the official website of the 2012 London Games.

Similarly, 2014’s Sochi Olympics attracted 322 million attacks, while 570 million were reported during Rio in 2016.

An event hosted by Kaspersky Lab explored the most likely attack avenues the recent Winter Olympics would face. These included online services for ticketing, reservations and transport services, as well as authentication and authorisation systems.

It was anticipated that attacks could be carried out on robotic machinery (disabling them or controlling them remotely) and on physical operational technologies, such as heating, ventilation, air conditioning and lifts.

Other concerns included the manipulation of data analytics systems and algorithms (used to predict traffic, population density, weather, water/power/storage demands) and the spreading of rumours on social media, with fake profiles posting false messages intended to start crowd panic or similar troubles.

Mohamad Amin Hasbini, senior security researcher at Kaspersky Lab, said the extensive use of technology at the Games has attracted a high number of hackers eager to find a way of breaking the systems and causing havoc.

“This creates a situation where cyber security challenges are not only an issue of safety, but also provide the opportunity to demonstrate to the world that we are able to successfully combat the threats around us,” he explained.