olympics and cyber attacks

The Olympics and Cyber Attacks

olympics and cyber attacks

2032 may seem like a long way away, but the Olympics are coming to Brisbane! They’ll bring their customary buzz and anticipation, and even though its a few years away they’re already the talk of the town. 

Here’s the thing though. Hackers love buzz and excitement – they hide behind it and use it to trick the unsuspecting. Everybody from the event organisers to Mums and Dads searching for Olympic news on the internet are at risk, so it pays to be diligent and aware of the risks hackers pose when big events such as the Olympics are on.

According to this article, the Olympics have become a favourite target of Russian hackers since 2016, when Russian athletes were suspended from participating due to an elaborate doping scheme. They’ve leaked medical records of Olympic stars. They’ve shut down online ticketing. Someone even created a network worm called ‘Olympic Destroyer’, which propagated through networks and stole passwords during the 2018 winter Olympics.

It’s no wonder the organisers of the Tokyo Olympics have been on edge and safeguarded themselves to the utmost degree. COVID throws another interesting element into the works, further complicating and disrupting normal procedures, creating just that bit more confusion phishers and hackers can take advantage of.

What do you need to be aware of over the Olympics? How can hackers make you and your business a target? Awareness and vigilance are a solid starting point, so we want to inform you of some of the online scams you might run into. Cyber security specialists Kaspersky did a recent analysis of Olympic-related phishing and cyber attacks, and what they found might just surprise you.


Creative Olympic Games Scams

Popular sports events are often used to lure in online victims. The Olympics, having the status it does, takes the gold medal for cyber scam creativity! Some of these include:


An Olympic Cryptocurrency Scam

This year Kaspersky found a company who devised and built a cryptocurrency token that claimed to be the official token of the Olympics. No such official token has been mandated by the Olympic Council, so anyone who bought the token was just putting money straight into the pocket of the scammer. Another similar scam created a token that was meant to raise money as support for Olympic athletes. Of course, the fund didn’t exist.


Streaming Scams

As there aren’t any spectators allowed at the Olympics this year, online viewing has skyrocketed as people tune in to watch the events. This is pretty much a gold mine for hackers, who entice viewers in with official looking streaming services designed to capture credentials and then distribute malicious files to your computer. How’s that for a double blow?


The Lure of Free Gifts

If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. So be aware of anything online offering you free stuff with an Olympics theme. Scammers set up web pages that offer free products, like a TV. You win the TV by signing up, then you have to pay shipping cost to get the TV sent out to you. Only thing is, there is no TV and your shipping costs are going into the scammers back pocket.


Personal Details Harvesting

Always think twice before you enter your personal credentials or credit card details into an Olympics-related website. Check and double check that its official and have a think about whether it’s necessary that they have all your personal information. There are a number of phishing pages out there that look highly legitimate but are set up purely to harvest your information.


Ticketing Scams

It seems pretty obvious to most that as there are no spectators this year at the Olympics, there won’t be any tickets for sale. That hasn’t stopped scammers from setting up very official looking websites that are selling ‘tickets’ to Olympic events. Unfortunately, people are actually buying them too!

We’d suggest also being wary of any emails finding their way into your inbox that contain Olympics-related material. If you didn’t sign up at the official Olympics website for newsletters or updates, chances are these are phishing emails trying to direct you to a malicious website.

Hopefully that helps. Stay safe out there and enjoy the Olympics! If you have any questions about cybersecurity and how to protect yourself and your business online, please get in touch with Smile IT. We’re a Brisbane Managed Service Provider with a team of cyber security experts here to help you out.


When he’s not writing tech articles or turning IT startups into established and consistent managed service providers, Peter Drummond can be found kitesurfing on the Gold Coast or hanging out with his family!