National

Tokyo Games' corporate sponsors begin drills to counter potential cyberattacks

JIJI

In the run-up to the Tokyo Olympics next year, the sponsors are speeding up preparations to counter cyberattacks.

Hackers hampered the two previous Olympics, taking down a state government website at the Rio Games in 2016 and triggering system failures just before the opening ceremony for the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea, making it impossible for spectators to print tickets.

At a meeting of senior officials from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and Metropolitan Police Department in May, Akira Saka, chief information security officer for the Tokyo organizing committee, said it is likely that hackers are preparing “infrastructure” to mount more attacks.

“It is possible that they will first take over systems of related companies and groups and then attack their main targets. The scope of cyberattacks has expanded,” Saka warned.

In June, officials for risk management and information technology affairs from 57 corporate sponsors gathered at an MPD office in Tokyo’s Minato Ward for a cyberattack drill.

Measures were discussed to respond to a hypothetical situation in which a firm’s website is hacked via an email messsage designed to look like it came from a client.

In this scenario, the virus locks up smartphone users’ devices and leaves a demand for a ransom to unlock them.

“We frequently work with other companies, including client companies,” an official at seasoning maker Ajinomoto Co. said. “I’ve found it necessary to raise awareness of the risks in cyberspace.”

Fujitsu Ltd., which designed the exercise, introduced palm vein authentication at its offices to prevent third parties from invading its computers. It monitors the status of all of workers’ computers and immediately cuts those highly likely to be under cyberattack from its network.

“It’s crucial to build a system that allows us to detect viruses, on the assumption computers are easily infected,” said Taishu Ota, a Fujitsu official with cybersecurity expertise.

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