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Japan trains 220 ethical hackers to protect Tokyo Olympics


The 2020 Summer Olympics, which were rescheduled to take place in Tokyo between 23 July and 8 August this year, will certainly fall victim to a wide range of cyber attacks. Thinking about that, the Japanese government has already trained an “army” made up of no less than 220 experts in information security, who will act during the event as ethical hackers protecting systems against possible disruptions.

According to information from the local newspaper The Mainichi, the professionals are mostly employees of large national corporations such as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), which dominates the telecommunications market in the country. The journal also points out that the “extensive training program” was in charge of the National Institute of Information and Communications Technologies.

In total, classes were taught on 20 topics and participants were divided into groups to defend specific systems, facing practical exercises that simulate real life situations. Obviously, however, the agency did not detail the disciplines passed on, maintaining a healthy level of secrecy as to how prepared this squad of “good hackers” is.

Paranoia? Not even

Some may even view this attitude as a paranoid view on the part of the Japanese authorities, but, let’s see: shortly after the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics, which took place in South Korea, six members of Russian intelligence were accused by the United States of trying to cause cyber disruptions at the event and to maintain an espionage campaign against the Asian country.

Furthermore, the British Department of Foreign Affairs, Community and Development has already issued – in early 2020, before the event was postponed due to the pandemic of the new coronavirus (SARS-CoV2) – that Russia could try to intervene in the Tokyo Olympics in the digital field. British officials have even listed recommendations for the event’s organizations and supply chain.

It is worth remembering that, although everything happened in compliance, the Rio 2016 Olympics recorded 4.2 million cyber incidents, most of which were denial of service (DDoS) attacks from hacktivist groups in Brazil. Infrastructure protection was entrusted to Cisco, which had the operational support of 65 dedicated specialists in a Security Operations Center (SoC).

Source: Inside the Games

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