FBI Says Cyber ​​Actors Could ‘Disrupt’ Olympics

(THE HILL) – The FBI’s Cyber ​​Division warned in a private industry notification dated Monday that cyber actors could “disrupt” the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics slated to begin on Friday, in addition to the Beijing Paralympics. next month.

“The FBI is warning entities associated with the February 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics and the March 2022 Paralympic Games that cyber actors may use a wide range of cyber activity to disrupt these events,” the agency said.

The FBI noted that some of these activities could include ransomware, phishing campaigns, malware, and distributed denial of service attacks, among other actions.

The agency also warned against installing apps created by “untrusted vendors”, which “could increase opportunities for cyber actors to steal personal information or install tracking tools, malicious code or malware”.

The FBI noted that it was not aware of any specific cyberattacks planned to be carried out, but stressed that athletes and others associated with the Games should remain vigilant, including recommending people leave their devices behind. personal at home and to use a temporary telephone during their stay. China.

The agency pointed to previous cyberattacks that were carried out during the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics and the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics.

“For example, during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics, the NTT Corporation – which provided its services for the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics – revealed that there were over 450 million attempted incidents. related to cybersecurity during the event, although none were successful due to cybersecurity measures in place,” the agency said.

“During the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Olympics, Russian cyber actors carried out a destructive cyberattack on the opening ceremony, enabled by spear-phishing campaigns and malicious mobile apps,” the FBI added.

The FBI noted that these upcoming Games could be vulnerable to cyberattacks as people will rely more on social media and streaming services to watch the Olympics as foreign spectators are not allowed to attend.

Cyberattacks could be carried out against broadcast companies and internet service providers to impact service during the Games; broadcast networks could be disrupted by phishing and social engineering campaigns; and certain types of infrastructure like hotels and ticketing services could also be hit by cyberattacks, the FBI said.

The notice comes just days before the start of the Winter Games, which several nations, including the United States, are diplomatically boycotting in response to human rights concerns. The Games are scheduled to last until February 20.

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