The Justice Department charged six Russian intelligence officers in connection with cyberattacks that targeted the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea on Monday. The charges against the officers were also related to potential hacking of the French presidential election and American businesses.
The six current and former officers accused are from the Russian military intelligence agency named GRU. They reportedly were looking to advance the Kremlin's geopolitical interests and destabilize and punishing "perceived enemies." U.S. Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania Scott Brady described the work as "some of the most destructive, most costly, most egregious cyber attacks ever known."
According to the AP, the chose the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea as a hacking target after the Olympic Committee penalized Russia for a doping conspiracy. The prosecutors allege that during the opening ceremony in 2018, the hackers deleted data from thousands of computers. They say the computers were left inoperable after the "devastating malicious software attack." Russia blamed North Korea for the incident.
The indictment also says the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo, which were postponed earlier this year to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic, were a target as well.
"No significant impact has been observed in our operations," Tokyo 2020 said in a statement.