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Japan prepares itself for a Cyber Secure and Incident Free Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020

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Japan prepares itself for a Cyber Security Incident Free Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020.

On 07 September 2013, Japan was selected to host the world-famous sporting event, the Olympic and Paralympic Games 2020. The country was given a clear seven years to prepare for the 2020 Summer Olympics, and the Paralympics 2020. The Games of the XXXII Olympiad at Tokyo, is scheduled from 24 July to 09 August 2020. The 2020 Paralympics scheduled from 25 August through 06 September, will be held just after the Olympiad. The Tokyo Olympic Games, will be witness to five new sports: baseball/softball, karate, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing. The addition of the last three sports mentioned, is a fallout of the trending culture of sports globally.

The events at the Olympics  will be riding on the latest IT and ICT technology, that is there in the offing. The Cyber Security measures, including concerns of Privacy and Confidentiality are major factors that the hosting nation cannot ignore during the conduct of the event. Japanese Government and other Companies that are involved in the conduct of the games have been sanitised to the risks of hosting the Olympics and are taking measures to mitigate any cyberattacks that might come their way. 

The World need not have to go too far back in time to find an example of an Olympic host coming under attack. In the year 2018, malware almost delayed the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, in South Korea. The cyberattack targeted the organising committee and partner companies, seizing servers and about 300 computers. South Korea, had to draw embarrassment due the failure and the the media on slot then. 

With Russia being hit by a four-year Olympic ban, and Japan’s relations with some countries growing tense; “2020 has turned out to be really bad timing for Japan,” said Yukimi Sohta, a representative of Cybereason, a cybersecurity service provider. As global tensions rise, so does the potential for cyberattacks. Already, underground cybercrime campaigns and communities in China are being uncovered as they chatter using terms like “20” and “Tokyo,” Sohta said.

The service providers that are involved in the games at Tokyo, have adopted AI, IoT and many other technology initiatives to ensure that the event is made a success. Recently a panel of experts from Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications decided to initiate emergency cybersecurity measures ahead of this year’s Olympic and Paralympic Games.

A few of the initiatives that have been undertake by different stakeholders to provide cyber cover against attacks and vulnerabilities is listed below:

  • Identification of correct technologies
  • Selection of the secure hardware to support the technology enabling
  • Selection and debugging of the software involved
  • Cyber Sanitization of the ecosystem and environment
  • Protection of other infrastructure
  • Incorporation of Cyber Security measures
  • Audit of these people, processes and technology
  • Introduce cybersecurity training at a local government level
  • Ensuring adequate security measures is in place for devices installed in the country’s transportation infrastructure and other important public facilities that may be vulnerable to cyber-attack because of their use of Internet of Things (IoT) technologies
  • The earmarked panel on cybersecurity issues will raise issues following examination of the security of devices used in the ecosystem and the requirement ot flag and report the same to the administrators, who should then address the problem
  • The panel will also look into thorough cybersecurity checks on devices whose manufacturer-issued passwords have never been changed
  • Measures to curb leaks of personal information
  • The panel will advice the government ensure businesses and individuals against sharing any personal or confidential information when using Wi-Fi
  • Ensure the protection and disaster recovery measure to critical sectors to include Electricity suppliers, Railways, Energy, Water, Logistics, Banking, etc

Japanese and other Companies involved with critical infrastructure within the country and those engaged in the conduct of games have been adopting stronger security measures, off-late . Tokyo Electric Power has set up a cybersecurity center to cater for any attacks. In December 2019, Hitachi had set up a facility where its employees can train and conduct cybersecurity research. Hitachi produces equipment for a lot of the country’s infrastructure and operates some of that infrastructure itself.

During The Games, Energy Security will be a big concern, Tokyo Gas has partnered with Israel Electric Corporation, which has experience dealing with attacks and this cooperation will continue till the culmination of the Games.

Companies declined to comment on specific anti-cyberattack measures for fear of clueing in hackers. But official Olympic sponsor Asics said its employees are training under the National Institute of Information and Communications Technology. Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. said it is “undertaking simulations and evaluating its business continuity plan, with several types of cyberattacks in mind.”

Anti-Virus companies have also promised to established incident response infrastructure and helpdesks to ensure smooth and incident free cyber enabling services.

Japanese government will set up a cybersecurity response center and a coordination organization, to help companies, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Olympic Organizing Committee share information and take action should the need arise.

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