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Olympics face massive cyber threats

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The Olympics Games have almost always been used to introduce innovative technologies intended to make the sporting events more efficient. And given the role that IT plays in the events, cybercriminals are likely to see them as a massive opportunity.

Research shows that there is much at stake, from critical infrastructure to healthcare or environmental issues. All of these should be properly managed in the pursuit of a bright future. Figures support this concern. At the 2008 Beijing Games, around 190 million cyber-attacks were reported (12 million per day). At the 2012 London Games, cybercriminals made over 200 million failed attacks on the event’s official website. At the 2014 Sochi Olympics, 322 million attacks were reported, followed by 570 million at the 2016 Rio Olympics. At the 2020 Olympics, Japan is also planning drastic measures to safeguard its IT infrastructure from cyberattacks – given that they are considering a 57% projected increase in cyberattacks based on the average increase from the last three Olympics.

“Because of the importance of information technology to the success of the event, one area of pivotal concern is cyber security. In fact, the Olympics are comparable to a business of 200 000 employees, addressing 4 billion customers, operating 24/7, in a new territory, every 2 years – certainly a lucrative opportunity for any cybercriminal,” says Mohamad Amin Hasbini, Senior Security Researcher at Kaspersky Lab. “Cybercriminals are likely to try to use forged webpages that pose as legitimate Games web-resources to try to sell fake tickets or collect private data from those willing to attend the sports events. What’s more, we always see a spike in spam during these events where spam recipients are being lured into embezzlement schemes, for example, offering to help book hotels and/or make other travel arrangements.”

Extra caution is also required while using public Wi-Fi networks. Attendees should avoid using any unprotected network, as Internet traffic can be relatively easy for criminals, who are connected to the same hotspot, to intercept it.

What’s more, given that technology is applied to every facet of the event from smart transportation systems to waste recycling, guest services and even ‘village robots’, the use of technologies such as IoT and AI as part of the broader Smart City, must be kept secure as malicious hackers are likely to use this opportunity to carry out attacks using social engineering techniques to manipulate and increase the risk of personnel divulging sensitive information. Attacks on physical operational technologies as well as data analytics systems and infrastructure is a real possibility. Couple this with the spreading of rumors on social media can also significantly impact the Olympics as fake profiles that post fake messages can start crowd panics or similar troubles.

Additionally, basic security such as strong cryptography and authentication is critical, along with automatic and secure software and firmware that allow for auditing, alerting and logging capabilities. What’s more, the importance of penetration testing and vulnerability assessments for all systems, devices and people used in the Games cannot be underestimated.

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Password managers don’t protect you from hackers

Using a password manager to protect yourself online? Research reveals serious weaknesses…

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Top password manager products have fundamental flaws that expose the data they are designed to protect, rendering them no more secure than saving passwords in a text file, according to a new study by researchers at Independent Security Evaluators (ISE).

“100 percent of the products that ISE analyzed failed to provide the security to safeguard a user’s passwords as advertised,” says ISE CEO Stephen Bono. “Although password managers provide some utility for storing login/passwords and limit password reuse, these applications are a vulnerable target for the mass collection of this data through malicious hacking campaigns.”

In the new report titled “Under the Hood of Secrets Management,” ISE researchers revealed serious weaknesses with top password managers: 1Password, Dashlane, KeePass and LastPass.  ISE examined the underlying functionality of these products on Windows 10 to understand how users’ secrets are stored even when the password manager is locked. More than 60 million individuals 93,000 businesses worldwide rely on password managers. Click here for a copy of the report.

Password managers are marketed as a solution to eliminate the security risks of storing passwords or secrets for applications and browsers in plain text documents. Having previously examined these and other password managers, ISE researchers expected an improved level of security standards preventing malicious credential extraction. Instead ISE found just the opposite. 

Click here to read the findings from the report.

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MWC: Next generation of inflight connectivity to be unveiled

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Next week at Mobile World Congress, the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal progress on its mission towards enabling the next generation of inflight connectivity. This follows a significant start for the Alliance, which has seen membership increase five-fold since the first meeting in June of last year. The Alliance has a new research laboratory setup and continues progress through its three working groups, writing specifications for the technology, requirements, and operations.

These developments represent a huge leap towards the goal of making connectivity as easy and enjoyable in the skies as it is on the ground. Appearing as part of the Airbus stand (Hall 6, stand 6G34), the Seamless Air Alliance will reveal specification topics that have been completed and published to its membership.

“The passenger experience with inflight connectivity remains one of the great technology challenges. From Day One we have been determined to deliver on our mission to bring industries and technologies together to make the inflight internet experience simple to access and a delight to use,” said the Alliance’s Chief Executive Officer, Jack Mandala.

“I have been tremendously encouraged by the enthusiastic and committed response we have seen and the widening areas of expertise we can call upon as more and more companies and organisations continue to join us,” he added.

Announced during MWC 2018, the Seamless Air Alliance has since grown to twenty-three membercompanies with more than one-hundred key personnel from across the membership participating in its three working groups, with numbers continuing to increase.

The Seamless Air Alliance was created by founding members Airbus, Airtel, Delta Air Lines, OneWeb and Sprint, and quickly joined by Air France KLM, Aeromexico, and GOL Linhas Aereas Inteligentes and global technology leaders including Astronics, Collins Aerospace, Comtech, Cyient, iDirect, Inmarsat, Intelsat, Latecoere, Nokia, and Panasonic. 

Today, the Alliance is pleased to announce five additional new members: Adaptive Channel, Etihad Airways, GlobalReach Technology, Safran, and SITAONAIR.

“We are extremely pleased to have these companies join and be a part of the companies driving the next generation of connectivity.” said Mr Mandala.

The Seamless Air Alliance will enable travelers boarding any flight, on any airline, anywhere in the world, to use their own devices to automatically connect to the Internet with no complicated login process nor paywall to scramble over.

The Alliance is also announcing the release of a new research study on the economic benefit of standardization on the inflight connectivity market at Mobile World Congress. This report is available for download at https://www.seamlessalliance.com/publications/

The Alliance is moving rapidly towards an expected demonstration of the technology later in 2019 and anticipates massive interest in Barcelona from the whole communications eco-system.

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