IOC denies knowing source of Friday's cyberattack before PyeongChang officials confirm that they do

The International Olympic Committee confirmed on Friday that there was indeed a cyberattack on Friday’s Opening Ceremony for the PyeongChang Olympics.

Prior to Sunday, officials acknowledged that something had gone wrong at the ceremony, but declined to confirm if it was a cyberattack.

A series of servers went down during the ceremony along with some other behind-the-scenes technology failures that went unnoticed by the viewing public. A spectacular drone show that was a highlight of the Opening Ceremony broadcast turned out to be prerecorded footage of a rehearsal after a live version had to be scrapped. After the fact, IOC officials were coy as to why the viewing public didn’t see an actual live drone show.

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“Due to impromptu logistical changes it (drone deployment) did not proceed,” an IOC spokesperson said.

Drones seen in Friday’s Opening Ceremony broadcast turned out to be recorded rehearsal footage. (Engadget)
Drones seen in Friday’s Opening Ceremony broadcast turned out to be recorded rehearsal footage. (Engadget)

It turns out the IOC is remaining coy about what it does and does not know about Friday’s cyberattack. While spokeman Mark Adams did finally acknowledge a cyberattack on Sunday that seemed evident previously, he told Reuters that officials did not know who was behind the attack.

“I certainly don’t know,” Adams said. “But best international practice says that you don’t talk about an attack.”

Adams’ team apparently didn’t get its story straight with officials from the Pyeongchang organizing committee, who had a slightly different version of the story for reporters.

“All issues were resolved and recovered yesterday morning,”  spokesman Sung Baik-you said. “We know the cause of the problem but that kind of issues occurs frequently during the Games. We decided with the IOC we are not going to reveal the source (of the attack).”

So who committed the attack is known, but officials have agreed that they’d rather not say who it was.

Speculation points to Russia, which was officially “banned” from the Games despite having 168 athletes competing in PyeongChang.

Plus there’s that whole thing with Russians using cyberattacks to undermine the very core of U.S. democracy.

Reuters, citing cybersecurity researchers who had found evidence in January that Russia could be planning an attack in retaliation for its Olympics ban, checked in with the Russians to get their thoughts.

“We know that Western media are planning pseudo-investigations on the theme of ‘Russian fingerprints’ in hacking attacks on information resources related to the hosting of the Winter Olympic Games in the Republic of Korea,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

“Of course, no evidence will be presented to the world.”

No. Apparently it won’t.

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