The Independent is reporting there was a successful cyber attack targeting the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics during the opening ceremony:

A cyber attack was launched on Pyeongchang’s servers during the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics, the organisers said.

It reportedly caused a malfunction of the international protocol televisions located at the press centre.

The Pyeongchang Organising Committee was apparently forced to shut down its servers to avoid any further damage. That in turn lead to the official Pyeongchang 2018 website going down.

Users were unable to access the site for 12 hours and could not print off their tickets for events, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.

It is unclear who was behind the attack but cyber security experts have warned that the Winter Olympics provide a “security challenge” as hackers could target athletes and staff.

A cyber attack should come as no surprise, however a successful interruption of service is unacceptable. Pyeongchang should have been well prepared for these types of attacks, not only with the proper defense detection, prevention, and correction capabilities, but also situational awareness and threat intelligence.

That Pyeongchang did not see this coming, and it in turn caused an outage, is not a good indicator of what may be to come throughout the next two weeks.

Japan needs to be paying very close attention to the Pyeongchang Olympics. Since both countries are in the same volatile region, Tokyo should expect very similar attacks if not more, primarily because of the geopolitical nature of Japan’s history.

I really want to see Japan successfully thwart even the most dangerous of cyber attacks through a multi-pronged approach. The combination of technology, situational awareness, and both human and signals intelligence will go a long way in helping Japan achieve that goal. It can be done, but the strategy needs to be developed now, with participating agencies collaborating and already preparing for the inevitable.