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Japan to use cyberattack countermeasures to protect Tokyo Olympics

59 Comments

Japan's chief government spokesman said on Tuesday the country will put cyberattack countermeasures in place to make sure the Tokyo Olympics are a success.

Britain and the United States on Monday condemned what they said were a series of malicious cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian military intelligence, including attempts to disrupt the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

The Games were originally set for this year but postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato also told a news conference that Japan was in close contact with the United States and United Kingdom over the issue and was gathering and analyzing information, but did not give further details.

British and U.S. officials said the attacks were conducted by Unit 74455 of Russia's GRU military intelligence agency, also known as the Main Center for Special Technologies.

In an indictment unsealed on Monday, the U.S. Justice Department said six members of the unit had played key roles in attacks on targets ranging from the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons to the 2017 French elections. The charges covered four years of malicious cyber activity, from 2015 to 2019.

U.S. officials would not say whether the timing of the announcement just ahead of the 2020 U.S. presidential election was intended to serve as a warning to foreign, government-linked hacking groups.

British officials said the GRU hackers had also conducted"cyber reconnaissance" operations against organizers of the 2020 Tokyo Games, which were originally scheduled to be held this year but postponed because of the coronavirus outbreak.

The British officials declined to give specific details about the latest attacks or say whether they were successful, but said they had targeted Games organizers, logistics suppliers and sponsors.

In a virtual press conference on Monday, Justice Department Assistant Attorney General John Demers also declined to discuss the hacking activity around the 2020 Games.

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: "The GRU's actions against the Olympic and Paralympic Games are cynical and reckless. We condemn them in the strongest possible terms."

FBI Deputy Director David Bowdich said: "The FBI has repeatedly warned that Russia is a highly capable cyber adversary, and the information revealed in this indictment illustrates how pervasive and destructive Russia’s cyber activities truly are."

The 2020 organizing committee said in a statement there was "no significant impact observed" from possible cyber attacks on its operations.

The attacks on the 2020 Games are the latest in a string of hacking attempts against international sporting organizations that Western officials and cybersecurity experts say have been orchestrated by Russia since its doping scandal erupted five years ago. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Russia was banned from the world's top sporting events for four years in December over widespread doping offenses, including the Tokyo Games.

An International Olympic Committee (IOC) spokesman said they emphasized cybersecurity.

"The IOC and the Organizing Committees of the Olympic Games have identified cyber security as a priority area and invest a lot to offer the Olympic Games the best cyber security environment possible," the spokesman told Reuters in an email.

"Given the nature of the topic, we do not divulge those measures."

The attacks on the 2020 Games are the latest in a string of hacking attempts against international sporting organizations that Western officials and cybersecurity experts say have been orchestrated by Russia since its doping scandal erupted five years ago. Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Britain and the United States said on Monday the hackers were involved in other attacks, such as the hack of the 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony in South Korea, which compromised hundreds of computers, took down Internet access and disrupted broadcast feeds.

The attack in South Korea had previously been linked to Russia by cybersecurity researchers but was made to look like the work of Chinese or North Korean hackers, Britain's foreign ministry said.

Other offensive cyber operations allegedly conducted by the GRU officers since 2015, according to the Justice Department, included the global cyberattack known as NotPetya.

In 2017, destructive NotPetya malware spread globally out of Ukraine, infecting and locking up thousands of computers belonging to corporations. Experts say NotPetya caused upwards of $1 billion in losses. At the time, companies publicly affected by NotPetya included FedEx Corporation and pharmaceutical giant Merck.

© Thomson Reuters 2020.

©2020 GPlusMedia Inc.

59 Comments
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Like all outlandish conspiracy theories, this one lacks verifiable evidence.

The whole world seems to be putting on a tinfoil hat recently.

-13 ( +18 / -31 )

Despicable. The best course of action is to outright ban this rogue state from Tokyo 2021. Their athletes are doping cheats anyway and none of them will be missed.

-6 ( +16 / -22 )

a litany of malicious cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian military intelligence

Expect the usual 'Can't prove it! Can't prove it!' and 'the west is worse' from the pro-Russia crowd. I wonder why the Kremlin's troll armies continue to support Trump and his fellow Republicans. hmmmm

13 ( +25 / -12 )

The British officials declined to give specific details about the latest attacks or say whether they were successful, but said they had targeted Games organizers, logistics suppliers and sponsors.

If they exposed the crooked dealings of the IOC and Dentsu good on them.

17 ( +19 / -2 )

Like all outlandish conspiracy theories, this one lacks verifiable evidence.

I thought that you would be first to reply today, Burning Bush. I imagine that you were metaphorically ready with your pencil. You have attacked similar stories where Russia has been caught out, such as the Salisbury poisonings.

The Russian government has just shown itself to be a spiteful little conniving bunch of spoilt children. After getting caught for cheating, and not allowed to join in the games, they decided that they would do their best to ruin everyone else's fun.

13 ( +23 / -10 )

Expect the usual 'Can't prove it! Can't prove it!' and 'the west is worse' from the pro-Russia crowd.

Denial and obfuscation are the basic tools of the job.

4 ( +13 / -9 )

The attack in South Korea had previously been linked to Russia by cybersecurity researchers but was made to look like the work of Chinese or North Korean hackers, Britain's foreign ministry said.

An interesting tactics...

Defense-focus is not enough nor effective in curbing cyberattacks. Warning counter-attack is often made to gain deterrence and certain equilibrium with adversaries.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

> The British officials declined to give specific details about the latest attacks or say whether they were successful, but said they had targeted Games organizers, logistics suppliers and sponsors.

In a virtual press conference on Monday, Justice Department Assistant Attorney General John Demers also declined to discuss the hacking activity around the 2020 Games.

Accusations without specifics?

And not a word from Japan, the host country!

This seems to be a non factual propaganda piece by the west.

-7 ( +10 / -17 )

So why don't the US and Britain DO something about it? Like boycott any future Games from being held there. Or is this going to go unchallenged again? Yeah probably.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

I would be surprised if Russia wasn't using its cyber capabilities to probe other countries and international organizations. For better or worse this is how intelligence gathering works in the 21st century. America, China, Russia, Britain, Israel are all playing the same game. Those massive NSA data centers in the Utah desert aren't there to serve you cat videos on Youtube.

8 ( +11 / -3 )

Russia being aggressive again!

Just like they did a few years back by using soldiers without identification or a flag to take back Crimea.

U.S. And Europe won't do anything?

Yes it was us it's Russian land again, belongs to Russia.

Shot down a passenger plane heading to Asia, Russian soldiers using Russian weapons.

Russia will never admit to anything. Very shady, good at deception, lying, using poison to take out enemies, using beautiful women spy to extract information, using cyber attacks to influence elections, interfere with other countries, steal blueprints, back engineering.

-1 ( +11 / -12 )

So why don't the US and Britain DO something about it? Like boycott any future Games from being held there. Or is this going to go unchallenged again? Yeah probably.

exactly

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

As if we didn't need another reason to cancel the Olympics. The sooner they're cancelled the better.

6 ( +8 / -2 )

All part and parcel of the massive US-sponsored disinformation campaigns, Red Scare/Yellow Peril programs and anti-independent media drives which have been increasing for years:

https://thegrayzone.com/2020/10/01/fbi-peacedata-russia-censorship/

"In October 2018, Facebook and Twitter oversaw a large crackdown on alternative news outlets, banning massively popular pages that reported critically on US police brutality and militarism.

A veteran neoconservative operative who works closely with US government-backed institutions, Jamie Fly, took credit for the 2018 social media purge. Fly boasted to The Grayzone contributor Jeb Sprague that that censorship of alternative media was “just the beginning.”

Soon after making these revealing remarks, Fly was promoted to the head of the US government’s media arm the US Agency for Global Media (USAGM), an information weapon created by the CIA during the Cold War to spread propaganda against the Soviet Union and communist China.

A former advisor to neoconservative Senator Marco Rubio, Jamie Fly is also a top official at the powerful US government-funded think tank the German Marshall Fund, which helps oversee a campaign to discredit American independent media outlets by insinuating links to Russia and China that often do not exist."

As mentioned above, all countries (particularly the US, UK, Israel and Russia) are active in disinformation and propaganda, but in the past few years it has totally infected the western media. I'd be willing to bet that in a couple of months this story is revealed to be nothing more than fake news.

1 ( +13 / -12 )

Kurisu

Japan barely started its cyber defense. U.S. And Britain is far ahead of Japan.

I also hear Putin pays very well for misinformation, what part of Russia are you from again?

-8 ( +8 / -16 )

Russia should be careful when it messes with a "smaht powa" like Japan.

-11 ( +2 / -13 )

I thought that you would be first to reply today, Burning Bush. I imagine that you were metaphorically ready with your pencil. You have attacked similar stories where Russia has been caught out, such as the Salisbury poisonings.

The Russian government has just shown itself to be a spiteful little conniving bunch of spoilt children. After getting caught for cheating, and not allowed to join in the games, they decided that they would do their best to ruin everyone else's fun.

Best post yet!!

1 ( +10 / -9 )

Russia is like the mean kid with dirty clothes and a rat tail who nobody really wants on their kickball team, so he just goes on the other side of the fence and throws rocks and handfuls of mud over at the kids playing the game.

There isn't really an apparent strategy for Russia other than to upset the status quo. And once they do, then what? Corner the global markets in tin ore and turnips? Their economy is smaller than Italy's. Sure they've got oil and gas, but so does Venezuela.

I think they're just swinging their dongs around because they can, because "they have nukes!"... and mostly, because they're bitter about losing the Cold War.

2 ( +11 / -9 )

Forgot to add: "O'DOYLE RULES!!!"

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I also hear Putin pays very well for misinformation, what part of Russia are you from again?

Heard from who and how much is he paying and comparable to which countries?

1 ( +6 / -5 )

"The attack in South Korea had previously been linked to Russia by cybersecurity researchers but was made to look like the work of Chinese or North Korean hackers, Britain's foreign ministry said."

And of course the same people jumping to conclusions here now and condemning Russia without any hard evidence were the same lemming-like geniuses who were shouting curses about the Chinese/NK at that time.

4 ( +9 / -5 )

I thought that you would be first to reply today, Burning Bush. I imagine that you were metaphorically ready with your pencil. You have attacked similar stories where Russia has been caught out, such as the Salisbury poisonings.

Good Eyre Ah_so. The most notable Burning Bush attack is COVID-19 is just a flu.

Russia should be careful when it messes with a "smaht powa" like Japan.

Quintessential smaht powa.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

Naturally, US & Britain do not conduct any cyber operations against Russia and its interests at all.

4 ( +11 / -7 )

Olympics - corrupt, but fun

Russia - corrupt and deadly

I'll settle for the first option

-1 ( +6 / -7 )

I really don't think the 2021 Olympics needs any disruption. It's pretty much on the fence as it is thanks to Covid.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Sensational headlines but where is the proof?

There isn’t any...

1 ( +8 / -7 )

Fact check required.

3 ( +8 / -5 )

Unlikely. Disrupting the Olympics with cyberattacks would be a complete waste of time. To me it seems unlikely the Olympics will take place anyway. The 2020 Olympics is going to self-destruct anyway.

7 ( +9 / -2 )

Why not use the available proof and action on it? There must be appropriate international laws to punish such culprits so it may stop. Or we we going to keep debating while they continue their mission and expand?

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The Brits and Yanks feigning moral outrage and accusing others of cloak and dagger attacks abroad is too funny. The two countries that have meddled in, conspired against, destabilized and outright attacked more countries around the globe than any other in history.

5 ( +11 / -6 )

What Tokyo Olympics?

6 ( +7 / -1 )

The people here just eat this stuff up, hook, line and sinker. All primed and ready to go to war with imaginary enemies.

3 ( +10 / -7 )

The Brits and Yanks feigning moral outrage and accusing others of cloak and dagger attacks abroad is too funny. The two countries that have meddled in, conspired against, destabilized and outright attacked more countries around the globe than any other in history.

But of course they own the media so their version of events becomes "correct."

4 ( +9 / -5 )

US has no right to complain about Russia doing whatever it wants -- Russia has the country's tacit approval through Trump.

-3 ( +4 / -7 )

Oops, six people got caught with their hands in the cookie tin? Tsk tsk. Naughty.

The Olympics seems to be the very least of it, according to the article, but maybe they were the best attention grabber.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

A lot of propaganda talk in style "highly likely" aka Skripal,Navalny etc....all same pattern.

No evidence,as for me just other fake news.

3 ( +7 / -4 )

Is that the case? What are the supposedly Russian malicious cyberspace attacks on Tokyo Olympic Games for? Can anyone care to reveal the hidden agenda behind Russian military objective?

0 ( +7 / -7 )

Dirty Russia, dirty Russia as always..

2 ( +7 / -5 )

@venze

What are the supposedly Russian malicious cyberspace attacks on Tokyo Olympic Games for?

There’s no time to explain

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Where is the problem? I’ve heard, they will be held ‘at all costs’...lol

2 ( +3 / -1 )

Ban Russia, Ban China, problems solved.

2 ( +5 / -3 )

@sf2k

Ban Russia, Ban China, problems solved.

Article:

Russia was banned from the world's top sporting events for four years in December over widespread doping offenses, including the Tokyo Games

or you mean ban from what?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I don’t doubt Russia engages in such attacks (as do all other countries in the world) but there is no tangible benefit and much more to lose if Russia is outed. Certainly a lot more to the story and maybe not even state sponsored. Not at all worthy as a top story unless there are other reasons for making it one.

4 ( +7 / -3 )

you could replace "Russia" with "China" throughout this whole article and it wouldn't seem one bit out of the ordinary

like minds and all that...

2 ( +5 / -3 )

The best cyber attack countermeasure is to not use computers at all. Isn't that how the cyber security minister has been doing his job? Seems to be working for him.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

marcelitoToday  09:06 am JST

Naturally, US & Britain do not conduct any cyber operations against Russia and its interests at all.

You never hear Russia complain about it. So maybe they don't. Or maybe they do but they're so good that Russia can't catch them doing it. lol

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Japan's chief government spokesman said on Tuesday the country will put cyberattack countermeasures in place to make sure the Tokyo Olympics are a success.

Yeah OK,  sure ....who can forget the last guy in charge of this who didnt use email or a smartphone. With top guns like that in charge Japan,s best coutermeasure might just be turnig off the power switch.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Naturally, US & Britain do not conduct any cyber operations against Russia and its interests at all.

You never hear Russia complain about it. So maybe they don't.

Yeah, right, too funny... I can just see the "free" western media running front pages with stories of Russia busting US & co cyberattacks against it.

3 ( +6 / -3 )

Cancel the Olympics and problem solved.

who would want to hack an Olympics with only one team competing anyway?

8 ( +9 / -1 )

So the anti virus company needs to get some anti virus protection against a virus, classic!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

There will be no olympics in Tokyo so dont need any "measures",yopparai Ivan will stay in his zemilanka...and will not "hack" your olympics...

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Is that the case? What are the supposedly Russian malicious cyberspace attacks on Tokyo Olympic Games for? Can anyone care to reveal the hidden agenda behind Russian military objective?

The agenda is barely given. Russia was systematically doping its athletes to achieve success. Given that the programme was orchestrated at a national level, Russia was banned from participating in the games.

Out of spite it had planned to disrupt the games for everyone.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

@venze

Is that the case? What are the supposedly Russian malicious cyberspace attacks on Tokyo Olympic Games for? Can anyone care to reveal the hidden agenda behind Russian military objective?

Russia, North Korea, China, and the current US presidency are the "Eric Cartman" of countries around the world.

Respect My Authoritah!!!!!!

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

Too bad there isn't some way to just shut off the internet switch to and from Russia. They are a great source of trouble around the world. Putin has discovered that he can attack democracies much more cheaply with a free press than with his third world military.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Did these activities also happen for the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympics?

That could shed some light because if these activities vanished for the 2014 Sochi Olympics.................

1 ( +1 / -0 )

And let's see if it happens for the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics

Whether these activities happen for which Olympics lets ya know who these actors really are

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Two years ago, Yoshitaka Sakurada, 68, was the deputy chief of the government’s cybersecurity strategy office and also the minister in charge of the Olympic and Paralympic Games. He provoked astonishment by admitting he had never used a computer in his professional life, and did not know what a USB memory stick/ drive was.

Hopefully, they have someone more qualified now!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Japanese cyberattack countermeasures = fax machines

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Too bad there isn't some way to just shut off the internet switch to and from Russia. 

But then how would Americans get alternative news that doesn't parrot the CIA official line?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

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