This week, I have selected an article that focuses on a recent, high-profile example of hacking. Obviously, the timing of this article is ideal given our recent exposure to hacking culture in our course, through both the film Hackers and the article Phreaks, Hackers and Trolls. These sources have introduced us to the important digital phenomenon of hacking, in which people exploit the power of computers to engage in a digital, clandestine fight for a number of principles including but not limited to, the freedom of information and the right to digital privacy.
This article highlights a recent event in which computer servers involved with the opening ceremonies of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics were hacked earlier this week. The hacking disabled internet access, broadcasting functions, sponsor’s drones and crashed the official site of the event which thwarted many ticket holders from obtaining their tickets and resulted in a greatly reduced audience size. The article links the cyberattacks to a Russian hacking organization with links to the Russian government. It is worth noting that Russia has been barred from these 2018 Winter Olympic Games due to a systematic doping scandal and thus would have a motive to interfere with the event which has become an international symbol of peace and mutual cooperation.
This current event underscores both the danger and importance of hacking and hacking culture in our modern, digital world. Hacking provides an opportunity for anyone with a computer to make an impact on the world around them. This opportunity can be as dangerous as it is empowering because the world’s reliance on computers allows anyone with the necessary skills the ability to interrupt and/or interfere with important events worldwide. This ability may allow disgruntled nations like Russia to continue to discreetly and casually interfere with important global spectacles such as the Olympics. The scariest aspect of all of this is not that they Olympics were hacked, but that nearly anything could be interrupted by this form of digital guerrilla warfare, including much more serious processes such as nuclear launches and drone strikes.