Burn.Burn.

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International unity be damned.

The 2018 Winter Olympics opening ceremony was an opportunity for athletes around the world to proudly wave their nation’s flag and welcome the start of a time-honored tradition of peaceful competition. Oh, and it was also a chance for another highly skilled subset of the planet’s population to strut their stuff — specifically, hackers. 

According to the South Korean news agency Yonhap News, servers belonging to Olympic organizers were hacked during this year’s Feb. 9 opening ceremony. As a result, the TVs at the main press center are said to have malfunctioned. 

What’s more, in response to the attack, organizers briefly shut down their own servers — temporarily knocking the Pyeongchang 2018 website offline in the process. 

At present, not much is known about the individual or individuals behind the attack. However, that the Olympics and related organizations are a prime target for hackers is nothing new. In 2016, the World Anti-Doping Agency admitted to being the victim of a hack, saying that Russian hackers had stolen confidential medical data pertaining to athletes.  

Not a hack in sight.

Not a hack in sight.

Image: Jamie Squire/Getty Images

On top of that, officials have long suspected that this year’s games were going to present a unique cybersecurity challenge. In January, for example, security firm McAfee disclosed the existence of a hacking campaign targeting Olympic-affiliated organizations and noted that more was likely to come. 

“With the upcoming Olympics, we expect to see an increase in cyberattacks using Olympics-related themes,” the company explained in its report. “In similar past cases, the victims were targeted for their passwords and financial information. In this case the adversary is targeting the organizations involved in the Winter Olympics by using several techniques to make it more tempting to open the weaponized document.”

In other words, the opening ceremony hack might just be the first of many we’ll see over the course of this year’s Olympic Games. Here’s hoping that malfunctioning televisions are the worst thing that comes of it. 

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