Olympics on alert

Sports | REUTERS 21 Oct 2020

Japan said yesterday it would take countermeasures to ensure next year's Tokyo Olympics are not derailed by cyberattacks after Britain and the United States accused Russia of orchestrating efforts to disrupt the Games.

Olympics organizers reported no significant impact on their operations for the 2020 Games, which were postponed until next year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Britain and the United States condemned what they said were a series of malicious cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian military intelligence, including attempts to disrupt the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Japanese chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato declined to give details but said the country would make every effort to protect the Games from possible hacking attempts.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to malicious cyberattacks that threaten democracy," Kato said, adding that Japan was gathering and analyzing information and in close contact with Britain and the US. "The Olympics are a major international event that attract attention, and cybersecurity measures are extremely important."

The organizing committee said they had already made extensive cybersecurity preparations and that there had been little disruption to their platforms.

A string of hacking attempts have been conducted against international sporting organizations which Western officials and cybersecurity experts say were orchestrated by Russia since its doping scandal erupted five years ago.

Moscow has repeatedly denied the allegations.

Russia was banned from the world's top sporting events for four years in December over widespread doping offenses.

An International Olympic Committee spokesman said cybersecurity was one of their priorities.

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