The United States and the United Kingdom have accused Unit 74455 of GRU, Russia’s military intelligence, of targeting the opening ceremony of the 2018 Winter Games. The attack caused the broadcasting system of the main press conference room to be shut down and the website of the organizing committee to crash.
CNN reported that the Justice Department said GRU members wiped data from thousands of computers related to the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang and disabled them by using malware called “Olympic Destroyer” in retaliation. The department also said it would charge six GRU members for seven breaches including computer fraud, identity theft and damages to computers.
Russia was banned from the 2018 Winter Games after it was revealed that the Russian government supplied drugs to its athletes to improve their performance during the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, a resort city in Southern Russia, and tried to conceal it systematically. It is believed that the hacking was in retaliation for the ban.
Russian hackers even attempted to disguise themselves as North Korean and Chinese hackers. U.S. Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said their cyber attack combined the emotional maturity of a petulant child with the resources of a nation state. U.S. media have reported that, with the 2020 presidential election less than a month away, the charges serve as a warning against Russian intelligence, which has been alleged to interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.
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