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  • IOC Unaware of Olympic Hacks


    08/03/11

    IOC headquarters in Lausanne. (ATR)
    (ATR) The IOC tells Around the Rings it’s yet to be convinced its systems were hacked as part a massive five-year attack on governments, tech companies and defense contractors that possibly targeted Olympic information.

    According to a report released Tuesday by McAfee, a top computer security firm, the IOC, numerous National Olympic Committees and the World Anti-Doping Agency were infiltrated as part of so-called Operation Shady RAT, rumored to be the largest-ever hack.

    "The interest in the information held at the Asian and Western NOCs, as well as the International Olympic Committee and the World Anti-Doping Agency in the lead-up and immediate follow-up to the 2008 Olympics was particularly intriguing and potentially pointed a finger at a state actor behind the intrusions, because there is likely no commercial benefit to be earned from such hacks," wrote McAfee VP of threat research Dmitri Alperovitch.

    The IOC, however, says McAfee has yet to provide any evidence of the hack.
    According to McAfee, hacks on the IOC and three NOCs occurred “in the lead-up and immediate follow-up” to the Beijing Olympics. (Getty Images)

    "We are unaware of the alleged attempt to compromise our information security claimed by McAfee,” communications director Mark Adams told ATR early Wednesday.

    “If true, such allegations would of course be disturbing. However, the IOC is transparent in its operations and has no secrets that would compromise either our operations or our reputation.”

    The same can likely not be said of some of Shady RAT’s higher-profile hacks, including the United Nations as well as government agencies in India, South Korea, Taiwan and the U.S.

    Such focus on Asia and the Western world also extended to attacks on National Olympic Committees, with the NOC of an unnamed Asian country suffering the lengthiest compromise of any of the entities mentioned by McAfee – a span of more than two years.

    The distribution of targets – as well as the attention paid to the Olympic Movement before and after Beijing – has cyber-security experts pointing to China as the perpetrator behind the attacks.

    "Everything points to China," Jim Lewis with the Center for Strategic and International Studies told Reuters.

    "It could be the Russians, but there is more that points to China than Russia."

    Tuesday’s 14-page report from McAfee names no suspects, only victims.
    VP of threat research Dmitri Alperovitch. (McAfee)

    "We feel that naming names is warranted in certain cases, not with the goal of attracting attention to a specific victim organization, but to reinforce the fact that virtually everyone is falling prey to these intrusions, regardless of whether they are the United Nations, a multinational Fortune 100 company, a small non-profit think-tank, a national Olympic team, or even an unfortunate computer security firm," writes Alperovitch.

    Nowhere in the report does he indicate what, if any, information was taken from the IOC, WADA or the three NOCs.

    Written by Matthew Grayson.

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