Russian hackers accused of cybercrime against Tokyo 2020
Government officials from the UK and the US have accused Russian cybersecurity hackers of targeting the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games with the intent of disrupting them.
The UK’s Foreign Office has said that Russian military intelligence orchestrated a series of cyberattacks in an attempt to disrupt both the Olympics and Paralympics - both of which were rescheduled to 2021 in March this year because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.
The attacks are alleged to have happened before the games were postponed.
The hackers also conducted “cyber reconnaissance” against the organisers of the Tokyo games, according to UK officials.
While officials did not give details about the nature of the attacks, they said Tokyo 2020 organisers, logistics suppliers and sponsors had all been targeted.
Dominic Raab, the UK’s foreign secretary, said the attacks were “cynical and reckless… we condemn them in the strongest possible terms.”
Katsunobu Kato, Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, has stated that Japan will take countermeasures against future threats, and that the government was gathering further information about the attacks from the UK and the US.
Kato said: “The Olympics are a major international event that attract attention, and cybersecurity measures are extremely important… We cannot turn a blind eye to malicious cyberattacks that threaten democracy.”
The Tokyo 2020 organising committee added however: “While we have constantly monitored various types of cyberattack on (our) digital platforms… no significant impact has been observed in our platforms.”
The Russian government has repeatedly denied the accusations, which also stretch to the 2018 Winter Olympics in PyeongChang, which officials from both the UK and the US have said was also targeted.
The allegations of cybercrime at the winter games was based around the opening ceremony, and the targeting of officials, broadcasters and sponsors.
The 2018 attack, according to the Foreign Office, was a ‘false flag’, designed to look initially like it came from North Korea or China instead of Russia.
The International Olympic Committee has said: “The IOC and the organising committees of the Olympic Games have identified cybersecurity as a priority area and invest a lot to offer the Olympic Games the cybersecurity environment possible.”
Last month, the IOC and the Tokyo 2020 organisers agreed to implement more than 50 cost-cutting measures for the postponed games next summer.
The IOC’s coordination commission and the Tokyo 2020 organising committee have been working on efficiencies to address the rise in expenditure necessitated by the delaying of the games until July-August 2021.