PYEONGCHANG, SOUTH KOREA - Pyeongchang Olympics organizers were looking into a disruption of noncritical systems on the games’ opening day but could not yet confirm if it was a cyberattack, spokesman Sung Baik-you said on Saturday.
The Winter Olympics opened with a spectacular ceremony on Friday, attended by several heads of state who witnessed the joint march of North and South Korean athletes.
The ceremony was also attended by North Korean ceremonial leader Kim Yong Nam and leader Kim Jong Un’s sister, Kim Yo Jong, as well as U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.
Some South Korean media reported that system problems, including on the games’ website and in some television sets, were due to a cyberattack, but Sung said it was too early to determine whether hackers had attempted to damage them.
“There were some issues that affected some of our noncritical systems last night for a few hours,” Sung told reporters, without detailing the issues.
“We apologize for the inconvenience caused. It has not disrupted any event or had any effect on safety and security for athletes or spectators.”
Sung said security experts were investigating the incident. “Experts are watching to ensure and maintain any systems at expected service levels. We are currently investigating the cause of the issue. At this time we cannot confirm” a cyberattack, he added. “We are investigating the cause, and we will share more information. All competitions are running as planned.”
It was also not clear whether a failure to deploy drones as part of the two-hour opening ceremony was in any way related to the system problems.
The International Olympic Committee said pre-recorded footage of the drones was used instead. “Due to impromptu logistical changes it (drone deployment) did not proceed,” a spokesman said with elaborating.
The Winter Games are being staged only 80 km (50 miles) from the North Korean border. Citizens of the two Koreas, which are technically still at war since a 1953 armistice, marched together at the opening ceremony for the first time since 2006.
South Korea has been using the Pyeongchang Games to break the ice with the reclusive North, which has been trading nuclear threats with the United States recently.