U.S. Intelligence Shows Russia Hacked the Olympics and Blamed North Korea

U.S. intelligence sources claim that Russia, not North Korea, was behind the cyber attacks at the start of the Winter Olympics, The Washington Post reports.

Citing officials from the U.S. intelligence community, the Post says that Russia’s Main Intelligence Directorate (GRU) gained access to around 300 computers, hacked routers, and distributed malware in the lead-up to and during the event’s opening ceremonies. The contests themselves were unaffected.

Officials speculated that attack was in retaliation for the ban on Russian athletes in the wake of a systematic doping scheme. The Post says that the GRU used North Korean IP addresses to mask their tracks to shift the blame to the country, which has had its own tensions with South Korea and the United States in recent years.

Olympic officials confirmed at the beginning of the games that a cyber attack had taken place but didn’t reveal who the attackers were. The attack took down internet and Wi-Fi access during the opening ceremonies, as well as the event’s website.

Shortly after the hack, Pyeongchang organizing spokesperson Sung Baik-you told Reuters: “We know the cause of the problem, but that kind of issue occurs frequently during the Games. We decided with the IOC we are not going to reveal the source (of the attack).”

The Kremlin denied accusations that their hackers were linked to the cyberattack on Olympic infrastructure.

The Russian team was banned from the 2018 Winter Games due to a state-run doping scandal at the 2014 Sochi Olympics. Russian athletes who had proved they were clean were allowed to compete as Olympic Athletes from Russia under the neutral Olympic flag, but the Russian flag and Russian anthem were banned from the Games.