FBI: Cybercriminals Eyeing Broadcast Disruption at Tokyo Olympics

Expected cyberattacks on Tokyo Olympics likely include attempts to hijack video feeds, the Feds warn.

So, not sure if I’m the only one who has to do a double-take every time I see the year “2020” next to every Tokyo Olympics logo, but that’s nothing compared to what the FBI warns could be coming. The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Cyber Division has issued a warning that the Games’ TV broadcast is likely to be plagued by attacks, since it will be the only way to view events now that spectators have been barred due to COVID-19 safety concerns.

The warning states that adversaries are well equipped to use social-engineering and phishing campaigns to obtain access or use previously obtained access to implant malware to disrupt affected networks during events. The FBI added that in general, the Olympics will attract both run-of-the-mill cybercriminals and nation-state actors who want to “make money, sow confusion, increase their notoriety, discredit adversaries and advance ideological goals.” Yikes!

The Takeaway

This year’s broadcast-only Games means internet service providers (ISPs) and television networks will be attractive to threat actors who might want to disrupt a global audience all at once, or hold the Games themselves hostage. The increased pressure of broadcasting time sensitive events will likely result in network operators paying ransom demands quickly rather than stay off the air.

If you notice usual Olympics-themed emails in your inbox or notice any disruption in signal. Don’t be alarmed. Just probably some bad actors trying to get your attention. Click delete or change the channel!

Stay safe out there. 

-A

PS. Jay Fidell from ThinkTech and I had a chat recently about the Pegasus mobile phone monitoring software and its implications. Feel free to watch/listen: