A Fourth Estate® Service

Thursday, January 28, 2021

UK Claims Russia Planned Cyberattack on Olympics

The UK disclosed that Russia’s military intelligence service GRU conducted cyber reconnaissance against officials and organizations of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games that were supposed to take place in Tokyo.

The UK disclosed that Russia’s military intelligence service GRU conducted cyber reconnaissance against officials and organizations of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games that were supposed to take place in Tokyo.

UK’s National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) confirmed that Unit 74455 of Russia’s GRU had conducted “cyber reconnaissance” operations against this year’s Olympic organisers, logistics suppliers and sponsors.

According to the NCSC and Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the attack was supposed to compromise computer systems and sabotage the game’s launch.

“The GRU’s actions against the Olympic and Paralympic Games are cynical and reckless. We condemn them in the strongest possible terms. The UK will continue to work with our allies to call out and counter future malicious cyberattacks,” said Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab.

Russia was handed a four-year ban from all major global sporting events, including the Olympics on doping charges and were not expected to participate in this year’s games.

Aside from the planned attack for the Tokyo Olympics, the UK also disclosed that GRU also targeted 2018 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Pyeongchang, Republic of Korea by pretending to be North Korean and Chinese hackers.

The opening ceremony of the games alongside broadcasters, a ski resort, Olympic officials and sponsors in 2018 were among those that were allegedly targeted by GRU.

After the UK’s disclosure, the US Department of Justice has announced criminal charges against Unit 74455 for the 2018 Olympic attacks and the spear-phishing attacks against the UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory on the same year. 

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