UK Authorities: Russia Had Cyberattack Planned for 2020 Tokyo Olympics

Russia was reportedly also behind an attack on the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Games in 2018

UK Authorities: Russia Had Cyber-Attack Planned for 2020 Tokyo Olympics
Pedestrians wearing face masks walk by the logo of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo.
AFP via Getty Images

A joint operation between the UK National Cyber Security Center and U.S. intelligence agencies has concluded Russian military intelligence officers were planning to launch a cyberattack on the Olympics and Paralympics in Tokyo this summer prior to the Games being postponed due to COVID-19.

The Russians ostensibly were motivated to plan the attack due to their athletes being excluded from the Games as a result of state-sponsored doping offenses.

The organizing committee for the Tokyo Games said there was “no significant impact observed” on its operations from possible cyberattacks, according to The Guardian.

In addition to the 2018 Winter Olympics, the U.S. Justice Department also alleges the Russian military intelligence officers did billions of dollars of damage by attacking targets like a French presidential election, the electricity grid in Ukraine and meddling with the 2016 presidential election in the United States.

“No country has weaponized its cybercapabilities as maliciously or irresponsibly as Russia, wantonly causing unprecedented damage to pursue small tactical advantages and to satisfy fits of spite,” said John Demers, the assistant attorney general for national security.

The named suspects — Yuriy Sergeyevich Andrienko, Sergey Vladimirovich Detistov, Pavel Valeryevich Frolov, Anatoliy Sergeyevich Kovalev, Artem Valeryevich Ochichenko, and Petr Nikolayevich Pliskin — were all placed on the FBI’s most-wanted list but will likely never be extradited to the U.S. to stand trial.

“It is absolutely obvious that such news breaks have no bearing on reality and are aimed at whipping up Russophobic sentiments in American society, at launching a ‘witch hunt’ and spy mania, which have been a distinctive feature of the political life in Washington for several years,” the Russian Embassy in Washington said on Monday.

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