The summer is almost upon us. How can I tell? Well obviously not by the weather, which I will resist the temptation to discuss in any detail other than my old Boy Scout motto of ‘be prepared’ seems to be the order to the day. Summer is here because the major sporting occasions have kicked off and many of them are dealing with issues far greater than the weather – they are dealing with cyber security.
I’ve been a fan of Wimbledon for as long as I can remember and as technology has continued to permeate every aspect of modern life Wimbledon has adopted it whole heartedly. Their provider of choice, IBM, has been delivering the results, match statistics and more, but as a piece on their security intelligence website points out, they are now also fending off increased cyber incidents. As the 2016 championship is underway the figures they discuss are for 2015, but reflect the huge increases being seen with cyber crime. They state that in the lead up to the 2015 tournament there was a 300 percent increase in blocked security attacks and this increased to 500 percent during the tournament. Thankfully IBM is one of the leaders in cyber security technology according to information technology research firm Gartner, so Wimbledon is in very safe hands.
Running parallel to Wimbledon is of course Euro 2016 who has also had cyber related issues to consider. The website of SC Magazine ran a story explaining how research carried out by the SmartWire Labs Team at Wandera has uncovered a huge increase of malicious websites being accessed in the host country, France, by mobile devices.
They also pointed out that the official UEFA Euro 2016 Fan Guide app, which is a designed to provide practical tourist information for fans travelling to France for the tournament, leaked user data including, username, password, address and phone number, that was being submitted to the online UEFA store website. This data was being transferred by both the iOS and Android versions of the app over an insecure connection.
Concerns over cyber risk at major sporting events is increasing and no global sporting event is bigger than the Olympics, which in a few short weeks will commence in Rio. Aware of this trend U.S. intelligence officials are warning Americans that their proprietary information stored on electronic devices is at high risk for theft by spies and cyber criminals. Bill Evanina, the nation’s chief counter-intelligence executive said the games and other international events represent a “great playground’’ for government intelligence services and criminals, if only because of the “sheer number of devices.’’
So concerned are they that they have actually launched an awareness campaign titled ‘Know The Risk’ which makes suggestion such as back up data, change your passwords at regular intervals whilst at the event and to avoid prolonged sessions on local Wi-Fi networks, in order to help sports fans minimise their cyber risk.
The good news though is that fans travelling to these sporting events is that the airlines they are travelling on are looking to invest greater resources in cyber security. SITA, the travel technology provider to the air transport industry, carried out its survey among the world’s top 200 airlines, and discovered that cyber security at airlines is progressing.
Three years ago less than half of airlines (47%) said they were making advanced preparations to manage cyber risks -today this has doubled to 91%. As the world continues to adopt the Internet Of Things (IoT) concept, aircraft themselves become a large connected device.
Nigel Pickford, Director Market Insight, SITA, said: “Airlines are investing in areas which will promote a connected world of travel for the benefit of passengers and the workforce. We see new priorities attracting more investment, with cyber security and electronic flight bag solutions coming to the fore in this year’s research.
Who will win at these sporting events over the summer? I actually don’t mind, just as long as it is not the cyber criminals.
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