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CIOs Should Prepare for the London 2012 Olympics

Network bandwidth and security problems likely

The London Olympics kick off on July 27, about 5 weeks from now.  Naturally, the Olympics represents international competition, athletic achievement, and host-country pomp and circumstance.  Great entertainment as always but CIOs and CISOs should pay more than casual attention to the London games for several reasons:

  1. In the US, NBC/Universal says it will broadcast more than 5500 hours of Olympic coverage using a combination of cable TV and wired/wireless Internet.  There are even special viewing apps for mobile devices. 
  2. Cyber criminals are lining up with all kinds of Olympic phishing and malware distribution scams while Hacktivist groups may use the publicity of the Olympics to target nation states and major sponsors.  Here's a link to a DHS report with more details.  

IT executives should take note as there are a few ramifications worth preparing for:

  1. Your employees could bury the network with streaming media.  A compelling event at 6pm GMT would disrupt corporate networks across the USA.  CIOs may want to create/communicate acceptable use policies, block URLs, or throttle bandwidth on a proactive basis.  Since these types of broadcast events will become more and more common, it is also worth looking into network caching technologies specifically designed for video broadcast storms such as BlueCoat CacheFlow appliance. 
  2. CISOs may want to educate employees about Olympic cyber crime scams.  If so, it is worth summarizing the DHS report linked above.   
  3. Organizations in the hacktivist bull's-eye should be doing extensive penetration testing now.  Pay special attention to DDOS and web application vulnerabilities.  Company's with complex revenue-producing web applications should also be on the look out for automated attacks.  It may be worthwhile to look into tools from company's like SilverTail offering session intelligence and behavior analysis to monitor for cybercrime activities.

The London Olympics should be a wonderful spectacle but smart IT executives will also recognize that they could be disruptive and plan accordingly. 

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