FBI warns of a wave of cyberattacks targeting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

FBI warns of a wave of cyberattacks targeting the Tokyo 2020 Olympics

The inauguration of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics end a year of Olympic drought, caused by the spread of the  COVID-19 pandemic. The athletes return to their different competition venues with the ultimate goal of hanging a medal and adding as many as possible for their country of representation.

Despite the ornateness of the appointment, there are also risks to cover and they are not exclusively sanitary, as they also exist in terms of cybersecurity.

This new Olympic event can be both a target for cyberattacks and a hook that criminals can use in order to obtain new victims that bring them benefits.

According to ESET, a pioneer in antivirus protection and an expert in cybersecurity, these attacks can include attempts to block or alter sports broadcasts, or carry out intrusions to the networks that make up the IT infrastructure to steal confidential information and even encrypt it to request a ransom.

In recent years we have seen how large sporting events have been the target of cyberattacks. One of the clearest examples we had with Olympic Destroyer, the cyberattack that affected the IT infrastructure during the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics held in the Pieonchang region (South Korea), preventing many spectators from attending the opening by not being able to print their tickets.

The FBI has issued an alert regarding Tokyo 2020

In order to protect the celebration of Tokyo 2020 Olympics that can bring millions of dollars in benefits both for the Japanese country and for the IOC, exempt from income after a year of Olympic drought, the FBI has released an alert indicating the possibility of cyberattacks that try to hinder or prevent the proper celebration of these Olympics.

It warned of the possibility of attacks such as distributed denial of service (DDoS), ransomware or social engineering towards the organizers or the participants themselves.

So far there have already been some data leaks with information related to members of the organizing committee and ticket buyers to attend the event (although finally these games will be held without public). Some sample of malware with the purpose of destroying files camouflaged precisely as reports of cyberattacks.

The concern of the FBI is given that this type of large events attract various types of cybercriminals, since they allow them to carry out a very wide variety of attacks and target both the infrastructure responsible for the Olympics as well as their collaborators and spectators.

Enjoying the Olympics safely

Since the restrictions imposed prevent watching sports competitions in person, the vast majority of viewers will have to settle for watching them from home. This is something criminals know and could use this opportunity to try to find new victims.

One of the common techniques when it comes to taking advantage of large sporting events is to prepare fraudulent websites from which all sports categories are offered for free.

Depending on where we are we can enjoy a wide selection of free broadcasts Or, on the contrary, we will have to go through the box to be able to see our favorite sport. It is at this point where we must be more careful, since a simple Google search returns millions of results that claim to have free streaming of the olympics.

It is very important that we do not let ourselves be advised by the rush when it comes to watching this Olympic competition and that we first go to the websites of the television channels that have acquired the broadcasting rights (as RTVE in the case of Spain).

The list of authorized media is publicly available, so we just have to make sure to connect to the official website of each of them or tune into the corresponding channel on our television to start enjoying the Olympic Games.

Josep Albors, Director of Research and Awareness at ESET, explains: “We are aware that we are facing atypical Olympic Games in many ways. The pandemic has prevented Japanese and foreign viewers from cheering on athletes live and having to settle for doing it from home. For this reason, it is important that we do it in the safest way possible and thus avoid falling into the traps prepared by criminals”.

Rachel Maga
Rachel Maga is a technology journalist currently working at Globe Live Media agency. She has been in the Technology Journalism field for over 5 years now. Her life's biggest milestone is the inside tour of Tesla Industries, which was gifted to her by the legend Elon Musk himself.