The security firm McAfee said in a statement that several teams associated with the Olympics had experienced the malicious email with the primary target being groups affiliated with ice hockey.
“The majority of these groups (targeted) had some connection with the Olympics, either in giving infrastructure or in a helping role,” the McAfee report said.
“The enemies appear to be spreading a wide net with this campaign.”
In the bouts, which began as early as December 22, emails were “spoofed” to make them seem to come from South Korea’s National Counter-Terrorism Center, which was in the method of conducting anti-terror drills in the area in preparation for the Games.
McAfee said the emails came in fact from an address in Singapore and revealed the readers to open a text document in Korean.
The paper was titled “Organized by Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry and Pyeongchang Winter Olympics,” according to the report.
The malware in some cases was hidden in the text, and later in an image a technique recognized as steganography, according to McAfee.
“Based on our analysis, this implant discovers an encrypted channel to the attacker’s server, likely giving the criminal the ability to execute commands on the victim’s machine and to install more malware,” McAfee said.
McAfee said it anticipates more attacks of this nature, echoing predictions last year from University of California researchers of increasing targeting of sporting events.
“With the upcoming Olympics, we expect to see an increase in cyber attacks using Olympics-related themes,” the McAfee report said.
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