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Cyber Attackers: A perfect 10! Olympic Committee: Failed to qualify.

winter olympicsThe Olympics are meant to be a celebration of the human spirit.  A spectacle of national pride.  A living, breathing example of the limits of the mind and the body.  Through the Olympics, we get to experience the thrill of victory, and the agony of defeat.  Wait.  I’ve started to sound like a 1970s sportscaster.  That’s no good, especially since we obviously no longer live in the 1970s.

What do I mean by that?  Well, it’s obvious we no longer live in the 1970s because the extent of hacking in the 1970s were some whistles on phones that stole long distance.  Today, though, we’re in the midst of a cybercrime epidemic, and not even the Olympics are immune.

You might not have noticed it, but during the 2018 Olympics Opening Ceremonies in Pyeongchang, South Korea last Friday night, a “destroyer” cyberattack targeted and took out the Pyeongchang 2018 website and other services, including the ability for spectators to print out their event tickets.  This bit of malware was impressive in that it COULD HAVE completely destroyed the machines it infected, but didn’t.  It left open the possibility for organizers to fix the issue, which they had done by Sunday.

There are all sorts of detailed descriptions of the hack on the web (for example, Cisco’s Talos group has a great write-up) so I won’t waste your time on that here.  Instead, I’ll just say that no one is immune to cyber attacks in today’s world.  Large or small, famous or not, you and your company are a target.  You should be constantly thinking about how to stay one step ahead of the hackers so that you and your customers can continue to lead a safe digital life.

By the way, I found this quote, from the International Olympic Committee spokesperson Mark Adams, ironic:  “We are not going to comment on the issue. It is one we are dealing with. We are making sure our systems are secure and they are secure.”  (source: Reuters)  Are you sure about that, Mr. Adams?