Getting Real About Rio

Physical Security is Not the Only Security to Worry About - Cybercrime and Cyber Hacking

Rio Beach
Paula Ellis

This month, the entire world is watching Rio. Amid police protests, violent crimes, terrorism threats, sanitation concerns, dangerous levels of viruses and bacteria in the water, major public transportation problems, Zika virus, and other fears, many Brazilians like myself are worried that our “cidade maravilhosa,” or “wonderful city,” was sadly not the most wonderful choice to host the Olympic games. In spite of it all, as Gilberto Gil sings, “o Rio de Janeiro continua lindo,” Rio is still beautiful, and tourists will be enchanted by the friendliness of its people and the overall beauty of the city.

Unfortunately, health and safety concerns are not the only risks to worry about in Rio. Major sporting events are a prime target for cybercrime due to the worldwide attention and visibility. In 2008 the Chinese Olympics were subject to around 12 million attacks online per day and in 2012 London faced a total of 156 million security-related events, six of which were major cyber-attacks. With the LizardStresser botnet being recently deployed to target financial institutions, government organizations and ISPs in Brazil, attackers have already exposed identified vulnerabilities in critical areas.

Paulo Brito, a well-known cybersecurity journalist, recently published a list of websites that Anonymous plans to take down during the Olympics using DDoS attacks. The operation is called OpOlympicHacking. The list includes Rio de Janeiro government websites as well as various Brazilian sport leagues.

There are thousands of journalists sharing video and photos with worldwide media. Hundreds of athletes, millions of people watching the numerous sporting events. All of them require secure network connections, all of them require 24/7 availability. To those responsible for the Olympics’ network, the challenge is no small task.

Arbor Networks has successfully defended the Web properties for multiple Olympic Games and World Cups. For the London Olympics in 2012, Arbor worked with local entities to protect the infrastructure against attacks that could have paralyzed the network and prevented all Olympics communications from being shared with the rest of the world. Now let’s just hope everything else goes well and that Rio wins a “Gold Medal” as this year’s Olympics host.