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FBI warns of potential cyberattacks during Beijing Winter Olympics

Malicious threat actors might use cyber tools to disrupt the February Beijing Winter Olympics and March Paralympics.

Significant, high-profile events provide an opportunity for threat actors, such as criminals and nation-state cyber actors, to make money, sow confusion, increase their notoriety, discredit adversaries, and advance ideological goals.

Spectators will rely on remote streaming services and social media to watch the Olympics as no foreigners will be allowed to attend the live event due to the ongoing pandemic. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) warns that threat actors might use social engineering and phishing campaigns to spread malware and disrupt networks broadcasting the events.

The FBI has released a Private Industry Notification (PIN) to warn companies associated with the events that malicious actors might use ‘a broad range of cyber activities to disrupt these events.’

“These activities include distributed denial-of-service attacks, ransomware, malware, social engineering, data theft or leaks, phishing campaigns, disinformation campaigns, and insider threats,” the FBI said in a statement.

It also warned participants and travelers to watch out for mobile applications developed by untrusted vendors.

“The FBI urges all athletes to keep their cell phone at home and use a temporary phone while attending the events,” it said.

Currently, the FBI is not aware of any specific cyber threat against the Olympics.

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