By Joe Harker
The 2018 Winter Olympics were supposed to be a time of competition, entertainment and the hope that North and South Korea could one day unite as their athletes paraded under the same flag during the opening ceremony. Even if it doesn't help bring them together at least everyone is talking about the North Korean cheerleaders.
During what should be a happy and fun occasion there is a pressing need for vigilance against cyber attacks, with the opening ceremony already having been targeted. This appears to have been expected by the International Olympic Committee, who will not reveal what effect the attack had but insist it was swiftly dealt with. IOC spokesman Mark Adams stated "that kind of issue occurs frequently during the games" and the overall message appeared to be that everything was normal despite the attack.
The finger of suspicion has already been pointed at Russian hackers, with some suggesting it is retaliation for athletes being banned from the Winter Olympics for doping. Before the opening ceremony their Foreign Ministry was quick to say any problems would not be their fault. They said: "We know that Western media are planning pseudo-investigations on the theme of 'Russian fingerprints' in hacking attacks on information resources related to the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea.
"Of course, no evidence will be presented to the world."
The New York Times reports the effect the cyber attack might have had. They say the wireless service in the stadium stopped as soon as the opening ceremony began and disrupted some internet based screenings. A number of drones supposed to film the ceremony also failed to work which may have been part of the hack.
The cyber attack may have been caused by an implant according to McAfee researcher Ryan Sherstobitoff, who also suggested that a dedicated team of North Korean hackers might be to blame. He said: "We do not have any further information beyond our discovery that would suggest the new implant led to it, but it is highly plausible."
It takes an "Olympic effort" to keep the games safe as security services have to keep every possible avenue of attack covered. In addition to cyber attacks, they must also be vigilant against potential terrorism threats.
Wired believes the Winter Olympics offers the "perfect storm" for a cyber attack as there is a huge amount of political tension surrounding the games. They are being held on South Korean soil and both North and South Korea are working together and the whole world is watching.