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Beijing Braces for Olympic Cyber-War
Written by Daniel   
Monday, 04 August 2008 10:15
Can the world's most futuristic data center protect the Olympics' storage?

AUGUST 4, 2008 | By James Rogers, August 4, 2008, 9:10 AM

With the world’s eyes firmly focused on Beijing, officials and IT staff are bracing themselves for a flood of cyber-attacks when the Olympic Games begin later this week.
For months now, there has been growing speculation that the Games’ Websites and back-end storage infrastructure could be targeted when the Olympic flame is lit in Beijing’s Bird’s Nest stadium on Friday, either by cybercriminals or political activists.

“It’s always hard to predict these things, but it wouldn’t be a surprise,” says Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at security analyst firm Sophos, alluding, in particular, to the pro-Tibet movement. “There are some people that have an axe to grind against the Chinese government and could see it as an opportunity to have a cyber-attack.”

The analyst explains that there is also the threat of “financially motivated attacks” from shadowy underworld organizations that are employing ever-more sophisticated techniques to steal personal data.

”There have been incidents before when athletes have been targeted for ID theft,” says Cluley, using the example of soccer’s recent African Cup of Nations, when some competitors’ passport data ended up on the Web.

In addition to data on more than 10,000 athletes and 70,000-plus volunteers and officials, the Olympic organizers will also be storing masses of other sensitive information, such as credit card details on millions of spectators. Atos Origin, which is the Olympics’ IT partner, told Byte and Switch that it is fully prepared for a deluge of attacks on its network of 1,000 servers.

”Estimated security alert events from different IT systems could be more than 200 million during the Olympic Games time,” explained an Atos Origin spokeswoman, in an email. “We have built a sophisticated real-time security monitoring system to monitor every network port and PC running on this network [and] very high standard system hardening has been applied to all IT systems.”

Atos Origin is understandably wary of divulging specifics of its security strategy, although the vendor confirmed that it will be using around 1,000 network and security devices during the Beijing Games, which run until August 24. As for the Games’ back-end storage systems, the spokeswoman revealed that Atos Origin is using both SAN and NAS technology provided by Chinese technology giant Lenovo and Sun Microsystems.  [DarkReading....]  [Comments...]

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