Concerns about possible cyberattacks on the Tokyo Olympics, which are slated to begin July 23, are growing.
Attacks have increased in recent years – some were carried out for money, others allegedly government sponsored.
Institutions associated with the Tokyo Olympics are increasing their vigilance in the face of the scenario that criminals may commit cyberattacks for fame or political reasons while the sporting event is attracting international attention with almost no viewers amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cyberattacks have targeted past Olympic Games.
An attack on the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro revealed online medical information stolen from the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) database of participating athletes.
A system error that occurred shortly before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, led to a temporary suspension of ticket issuance.
The US Department of Justice concluded that these incidents were led by a unit of the Russian military intelligence service GRU.
The Russian side denied involvement in these cases, which were widely viewed as Russia’s retaliation for WADA’s punishment of systemic doping.
Russian athletes will compete in the Tokyo Olympics as individual competitors due to a ban on sending athletes from Russia.
In October last year, the UK government announced that the GRU had carried out cyber reconnaissance to organizations related to the Tokyo Games.
It is believed that China and North Korea are among the countries that are carrying out government sponsored cyberattacks.
An environment has been created for North Korea, which will be absent from the Tokyo Games, to carry out an attack that is unlikely to hit its people, a police source said.
Tokyo Games sponsorship companies could fall victim to ransomware attacks that are raging around the world.
“We are taking action after investigating previous claims,” said a source associated with the Tokyo Olympics Organizing Committee.
The targeted perpetrators include so-called hacktivists who want to play up environmental, human rights and other political issues, as well as hackers who want to prove their technical skills.
“We should think that cyberattacks naturally hit the Tokyo Games. It is important to fix things quickly and not leave serious results when harm is done (from such attacks),” said Isao Itabashi, a cybersecurity expert who heads the research center the public order council.
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