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McAfee issues warning over hacking threat at Pyeongchang 2018

Hackers are attempting to steal sensitive data from organisations involved with the 2018 winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, internet security company McAfee has warned.

Last month, McAfee identified malware-infected emails that had been sent to a number of groups linked to the Games, which take place from February 9-25. A report by the company cited groups associated with ice hockey as a particular target for hackers.

Citing sections of the McAfee report, the BBC said the emails were sent from a Singapore IP address and instructed readers to open an attached text document in Korean.

The emails were portrayed as being sent from South Korea’s National Counter-Terrorism Center, which at the time had been carrying out various anti-terror drills.

McAfee said it also found evidence of ‘steganography’, a technique that hackers use to hide malware in text and images.

“The majority of these organisations had some association with the Olympics, either in providing infrastructure or in a supporting role,” McAfee said in its report. “The attackers appear to be casting a wide net with this campaign.”

The news comes after researchers from the University of California also issued a warning over an increase in the level of cyber-attacks in the lead-up to major sports events.

McAfee added in its report: “With the upcoming Olympics, we expect to see an increase in cyber attacks using Olympics-related themes.”