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[ISN] Computer experts working to counter any Olympic attack
From: William Knowles (wkC4I.ORG)
Date: Tue Aug 22 2000 - 03:20:59 CDT
Source: AAP|Published: Tuesday August 22, 4:04 PM
A crack team of computer experts will be working around the clock at
next month's Olympics to counter a new type of attack - cyber
While computer hackers who change finals results and play around with
medal winners may not be perceived to be as dangerous as armed
terrorists, there is no doubt they could cause havoc and serious
embarrassment for games organisers.
Federal Communications Minister Richard Alston said the use of the
Internet to disrupt the Games was being considered a serious threat.
'One can't give absolute guarantees in these matters. Clearly I think
we are on notice from events around the world ... that there always
people who are interested in testing the limits,' Senator Alston said
before federal cabinet meeting in Sydney today.
As technology has grown over the years so has its contribution to the
Olympic Games and this year's event will be the most computerised
The thousands of results from the 39 venues will all be kept in
electronic form and posted on the official Olympic website which is
expected to receive more than one billion hits.
Senator Alston said the methods being used to protect the system from
hackers would remain secret.
'We are not about to telegraph our punches - but clearly the important
thing is to be acutely aware that you can't take anything for
granted,' he said.
'You can't assume goodwill, you've got to proceed on the basis that
there will be people trying to cause difficulties and do your best to
Cyber terrorism has grown around the world and is open to anyone with
a handy knowledge of computers. That was proved in February by a
15-year-old American boy who crippled news organisation CNN's website
and 1,200 related sites for four hours in a cyber attack.
Tivoli Systems, a subsidiary of computer giant IBM, which has
responsibility for securing the Olympics computer systems - a network
of around 7,300 personal computers - was also playing its cards close
to its chest today.
But Tivoli Systems' Australia and New Zealand general manager Steve
Burke said his staff had made numerous tests on the system in recent
'We've been involved in over 40 test events,' he said.
'Things are going very well and we are ready to go.
'Many of the parts of the systems are being used again this week at
the athletics trials.'
IBM is drawing on experience from past Olympics including Atlanta and
the Nagano Winter Games.
"Communications without intelligence is noise; Intelligence
without communications is irrelevant." Gen Alfred. M. Gray, USMC
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