The UK’s National Cyber Security Center revealed, in a joint operation with US intelligence, that the Russian military intelligence services were planning a cyber attack on the Olympic and Paralympic Games hosted by Japan in Tokyo this summer in an attempt to disrupt the world’s first sporting event. Agencies.
Russian online reconnaissance covered game organizers, logistics and sponsors and was underway before the Olympics were postponed due to the coronavirus.
Many of the previously attributed Russian cyber attacks have been against state institutions of Moscow’s political opponents, but some cyber activities have been directed at agencies conducting investigations into Russian sports doping.
The new evidence is the first indication that Russia is prepared to go even further to disrupt the Summer Games, in which all Russian competitors have been excluded from participation due to the ongoing state-sponsored doping crimes.
The United Kingdom also became the first government to confirm details of the widening scope of a previously reported Russian attempt to disrupt the Winter Olympics and the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. It announced with 95% confidence that disruption of both the Winter and Summer Olympics was implemented remotely by the GRU 74455 unit.
In Pyeongchang, according to the United Kingdom, the GRU electronic unit attempted to disguise itself as North Korean and Chinese hackers when it targeted the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games, crashing the website so spectators could not print tickets and disrupt the stadium’s wifi.
The main targets also included broadcasters, the ski resort, Olympic officials, service providers and sponsors of the Games in 2018, which means that the targets for the attacks were not only in Korea.
The GRU has also deployed malware to delete data against winter game IT systems and target devices across South Korea using a VPN filter.
The UK assumes that the polling work for the Summer Olympics, including the quest to gather key account details, creating fake websites and researching individual account security, has been designed to induce the same form of disruption, making the Games a logistical nightmare for businesses, spectators and athletes.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “The GRU’s actions against the Olympics and Paralympics are cynical and reckless. We condemn them in the strongest terms possible.
“The UK will continue to work with our allies to summon and counter malicious cyber attacks in the future.”
The UK backing, part of an effort to disrupt Russia’s cybersecurity through maximum exposure and deter any disruption to the summer games rescheduled next year, is likely to lead to the lifting of indictments by the US as well as sanctions against individual Russian agents. . British sources said that the extent and persistence of cyber activity against sporting bodies has likely been purged at the highest levels in the Russian state.
Russia was banned in December 2019 from all global sporting events by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA), including the Summer Olympics, after Russia’s anti-doping agency was found guilty of tampering with laboratory data that was handed over to investigators in January 2019..
At the time of the four-year Wada ban, Russia claimed to be the victim of hysteria.
The 2018 attack on the Winter Olympics precedes the ban, and illustrates how Russia has been trying for many years to intimidate and infiltrate those agencies that seek to investigate Russian doping, until it has now reached the disruption period of the Summer Olympics itself.
The International Olympic Committee had announced in late 2017 that Russian athletes could only compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics as neutral and not under the Russian flag.
The discoveries are likely to come at a difficult time for Donald Trump, as the issue of Russian interference in American politics has once again made its head in the presidential campaign. Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani and the New York Post have been accused of allowing Russia to inadvertently use themselves to spread disinformation about the Democratic candidate, Joe Biden, and his son Hunter.
The United Kingdom claims that the cyberattacks are part of a pattern the Russian state has been following to target countries ranging electronically from Ukraine, the United States and Georgia to the United Kingdom, including the Foreign Ministry.
British officials indicated that Russia at the United Nations General Assembly signed an Olympic Truce, including a commitment not to disrupt or undermine the safety of the Games in any way.
The UK said it has already acted against the GRU’s devastating cyber unit by working with international partners to enforce an asset freeze and travel bans on its members through the EU’s electronic sanctions regime.
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