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OLYMPICS - Tight IT security in place at Athens games

OLYMPICS - Tight IT security in place at Athens games

The Olympics are under way in Athens amid some of the tightest security in

The Olympics are under way in Athens amid some of the tightest security in the history of the Games -- not just on the physical side, but on the IT side as well. Fears of a cyberattack on the networks and systems that support the event have prompted the Olympic Games' technology integrator, Atos Origin SA in France, to implement a multilayered defense focused both on attack prevention and containment.

At its core is a segmentation strategy under which the main network has been carved up into multiple virtual networks, said Jean Chevallier, vice president of Atos Origin's Olympics Games program.

Each of the Olympic venues sits on its own LAN segment. Networks serving TV broadcasters and print reporters, for instance, are isolated from the ones serving athletes and the Olympic committee. Users on one network don't have access to another network.

"The idea is containment," Chevallier said. "If we have a problem on one network, we can contain that issue to that network."

All of the 10,500 PCs, 900 servers, 2,500 terminals and 4,000 printers that are connected to the Olympic network have been assigned unique identifiers that also tie them to specific locations on the network.

A machine that's disconnected from its assigned network location will not be permitted access again without administrator intervention; the port is shut down to prevent unauthorized systems from logging on. Each of the machines has also been locked down into one of 218 hardware and software configurations.

The precautions are needed because many of the machines are accessible in public areas in the Olympic venues, said Chevallier.

Software from Computer Associates International Inc. will monitor the networks for intrusions and other security breaches. Months have been spent scripting filters to ensure that only significant security events reach administrators, Chevallier said.

Each core system has its own backup, and the main data center is mirrored at a remote location 200 miles outside Athens to ensure high availability and disaster recoverability, Chevallier said.

For the past two months, the networks and systems have also been subjected to a series of simulated worm and virus attacks, malicious hacks and network failures. "In fact, about 80 percent of our time has been spent testing this out," Chevallier said.

During the Games, a team of 400 IT professionals will monitor systems in 61 Olympics-related venues from a central technology operation center located in the main Olympics complex in Athens. An additional 3,000 IT volunteers will provide support. -- Computerworld (US)

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