Russian hackers were planning cyber-attacks against organizations involved in the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games set to take place in Tokyo this summer before the world’s premier sporting event was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK National Cyber Security Centre said.
NCSC said that Russian activity involved reconnaissance operations and that the targets included the Games’ organisers, logistics services and sponsors. The agency did not, however, specify the nature or extent of the cyber-attacks in detail.
UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab called the attacks targeting organisers, sponsors, and logistics providers of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games “cynical and reckless”.
“We condemn them in the strongest possible terms,” he said. “The UK will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter future malicious cyber-attacks.”
The UK’s authorities believe the Russian hackers intended to sabotage the Olympic Games, similar to cyber-attacks against the 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea. The hackers attempted to disguise their operation to look like it was conducted by North Korea or China, the officials said. The hackers deployed data-deletion malware called Olympic Destroyer against the Winter Games IT systems and targeted devices across the Republic of Korea using VPNFilter.
On Monday, the US Department of Justice announced charges against six members of the Sandworm group for cyber-attacks that sought to disrupt the 2018 Winter Olympics, the 2017 French presidential election, and power supply in Ukraine.