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Winter Olympics targeted by hackers says security firm

 
January 8th 2018
Hackers have attempted to steal sensitive data from groups involved with next month's Winter Olympics, cyber-security firm McAfee said.

The report found malware-infected emails were sent last month to organisations linked to the Pyeongchang Games.

It did not identify those responsible, but said more attacks tied to the upcoming Olympics were likely.

In similar past attacks, hackers tried to obtain passwords and financial data.

'Casting net wide'
McAfee said a number of groups associated with the Olympics had received malicious emails - including several affiliated with ice hockey.

"The majority of these organisations had some association with the Olympics, either in providing infrastructure or in a supporting role," the security firm said.

"The attackers appear to be casting a wide net with this campaign."

The emails were sent from a Singapore IP address and told readers to open a text document in Korean.

McAfee said the hackers were trying to trick recipients into believing the emails had come from South Korea's National Counter-Terrorism Center - which at the time was in the process of conducting anti-terror drills in the region.

In some cases the hackers used a technique in known as steganography which hides malware in text and images.

McAfee echoed recent warnings from University of California researchers to expect more cyber-attacks targeting major sporting events.

"With the upcoming Olympics, we expect to see an increase in cyber attacks using Olympics-related themes," the security firm said.

It comes as Pyongyang prepares to hold official talks with South Korea for the first time in more than two years.

North Korea accepted an offer to attend the meeting on 9 January that will focus on finding a way for its athletes to attend the Games.

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