Though the level of fear of Covid 19 has diminished, there are other fears surrounding the 2022 Olympic games. Fears of telecom disruptions and ransomware attacks are founded, and the damage that could be caused has increased with the reliance on technology to broadcast the Games, which kicks off on February 4.
Organizers are preparing for the kind of cyberattack that temporarily paralyzed IT systems ahead of the official opening ceremonies of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea.
Covid-19 and the Rise of the Virtual Spectator
The Corona virus has forced the world to transition to a digital state faster than expected, from work from home and beyond. Beijing officials have announced that they are utilizing technology such as facial recognition systems to monitor volunteers, athletes, and attendees.
While Beijing has shown that they have been diligently working on a defense over the last couple of years, the actors are always one step ahead of where the rest of the industry is. And that’s coming from the fact that they are largely nation-state attacks that are heavily funded . There will always be this appetite in the cybercrime world, especially when it is surrounding this specific event.
Though Beijing is ranked as a “low-risk” by risk management firms, giving it a great reputation as a safe place to visit, the nation cannot afford to become too complacent.
With spectators now being able to attend the games, it means purchasing tickets with banking information and logging in to a website account to print tickets. Officials announced on January 17, 2022 that tickets to the Olympic games would not be available to any spectator located outside of the country. Will this limit the rate of the attacks? There is only one way to find out. If there is an attack on this year’s Olympics, disruptions to the virtual supply chain could impact companies supporting the Olympic Games and even virtual spectators.
With the absence of the majority of in-person attendance, the event is going to be very reliant on technology to stream or even to save content.
Will at-home spectators face risks?
The organizers and spectators in the stands of the Olympics aren’t the only ones who should be wary. Suppliers and virtual spectators must take action to protect themselves and those they are connected to. In addition to malware, there’s also the possibility of ransomware attacks, so what is it that companies can expect if they’re targeted?
A warning to spectators is to be very aware of phishing emails. If an email is received, make sure to check the source, for it could very likely have malicious attachments. Pay attention to what you’re opening and pay attention to what you’re clicking.
Businesses may face interruption: Here’s why
Attacks on the Olympic Games will not just impact the Olympic Games because other systems are attached to them. Even if an attack is just targeted at the Olympics, it could still spread everywhere else because most of the networks are connected. Ransomware tries to spread, and its spreads very quickly. Systems that are connected could be impacted even if it was not the intent of the threat actor.
When it comes to ransomware, extortion has been increasing and becoming more targeted in its attacks and certainly in high-profile events such as the Olympic Games. There is a lot of money on the line. Should the Olympics be attacked, the losses would be extremely detrimental. A recent report revealed that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) took out around $3.9 billion of coverage for this year’s winter games.
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