The Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics saw around 450 million cyberattacks when they were held this summer, but disruptions to the Games were avoided as the attempts were all blocked, organizers said Tuesday.
Despite concerns the global sporting event would be an easy target for hackers, the scale of the attacks during the Tokyo Games was less than that of the 2012 London Games and the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics.
Trend Micro Inc., a major internet security firm, said the low number of cyberattacks was likely due to the Tokyo Olympics being held without spectators amid the coronavirus pandemic, which meant tickets and other information for visitors could not be used maliciously.
“We were able to prevent cyberattacks without causing any damage. This is the result of information sharing and countermeasures taken by all concerned,” the Tokyo Games’ organizing committee said.
From the opening of the Olympics on July 23 to the closing of the Paralympics on Sept. 5, around 450 million cyberattacks targeting the official website and the organizing committee’s system were blocked, according to organizers and other sources.
While the details of the cyberattacks are unknown, it is believed that the majority were distributed denial of service or DDoS attacks, in which hackers overwhelm networks by sending floods of data from multiple sources over a short period of time.
The London Olympics saw the highest number of confirmed cyberattacks on record, with the official website alone targeted around 200 million times, and attacks on all related organizations totaling around 2.3 billion.
During the Pyeongchang Olympics, around 600 million cyberattacks were attempted. Tokyo was expected to face an even greater scale of threat than the London Olympics, but only saw around 20% of the amount.
The government’s National Center of Incident Readiness and Strategy for Cybersecurity said that while there were also multiple unauthorized sites posing as video feeds for the opening ceremony and competitions, and posts on social media calling for cyberattacks, the operation of the Games was not affected.
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