Cyber attacks could be launched on "any company that finances or supports" the Sochi Olympics, U.S. security officials warned Wednesday as hackers targeted Internet sites related to the Russian games.
A security bulletin issued by the Homeland Security Department's U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team warned that the winter games could be used by "hacktivists" seeking to "take advantage of the large audience to spread their own message."
It cites one such group, Anonymous Caucasus, which claims "the Sochi games infrastructure was built on the graves of 1 million innocent Caucasians who were murdered by the Russians in 1864," according to the Homeland Security bulletin.
Anyone attending the games "will likely" have their communications monitored, the bulletin warned, and cyber criminals may use the games as a way to spread malware or phishing scams to sports audiences around the world.
The alert came as a denial of service attack was launched on Internet sites related to the games, knocking Russia's national games committee offline Wednesday.
Anonymous Caucasus announced on Twitter that it had called on its members to take action against Sochi-related sites, using the hashtags #paybackforsochi and #opsochi.