The London 2012 Olympics begin on July 27 and many security experts have issued warnings against potential threats. Thanks to the large amount of technology at people’s disposal this edition is being billed as the ‘first truly digital games’. 12 million cyber attacks were reported during the Beijing 2008 Olympics, so the need for persistent security and caution is paramount.
Various threats to security
Bandwidth issues: NBC Studios say that 5500 hours of coverage will be broadcasted by them. Other cable television networks will also join the party. Special viewing apps on mobile devices and thousands of live streaming stations over the Internet have also been set up. Such large numbers will certainly take a toll on Internet bandwidth. Usage of the web could suffer as a result, and this is something that individuals and companies need to be prepared for.
Phishing issues: This scenario is a dream come true for online phishers and scammers. Cyber criminals could take advantage of the situation to lure people for free tickets, lottery winnings and other benefits. Uninformed and vulnerable parties may fall victim to this, so be warned and keep your system protection software updated. Other spoofy methods to spread malware and steal information will also need to be addressed as attackers will attempt to exploit the hype and the publicity.
Hacktivist issues: We recently predicted that hacktivist attacks are increasing and could be organized in conjunction with physical demonstrations. The large viewership and exposure of the Olympics may lead several hacktivist groups to carry out DDoS attacks. Public transportation systems, banking portals, event organizing infrastructure and global sponsor websites need to be protected against such threats.
TechCrunch says – “The 16 days of the Olympic Games and 12 days of the Paralympics will see 450 technologists keep 180 servers and 1160 PCs and laptops running 24/7. There are 92 buildings to be connected and BT is investing 640,000 man hours in the project. A volunteer portal created by Atos Origin will manage volunteer staff of up to 70,000 people during the games. A radio trunked network from British company Airwave will be used by stewards and the emergency services and will act as a backup mobile network if anything goes wrong.”
Such security concerns will be handled by the Olympics’ Technology Operation Center (TOC). In addition to the 11 global sponsors, several other companies are also members of Critical Infrastructure Key Resources (CIKR) and Information Sharing Analysis Center (ISAC). All this goes to show how much preparation and back end protection is required to ensure the smooth working of such global events. We will keep an eye on proceedings and regularly inform our readers if any security related concerns are reported over the course of the sports extravaganza.