U.K. Olympic teams hacked from China

Dec. 17, 2007 at 5:28 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 17 (UPI) -- Chinese hackers have penetrated the Internet server used by the British Olympic canoeing team, who suspect the aim was to steal performance data to help rivals.

The U.S. Olympic Committee told United Press International it was unaware of any similar attempts against American teams.

Internet servers used by the British Canoe Union were penetrated in mid-October, wpokeswoman Chloe Nelson-Lawrie told UPI. "Our IT security consultants traced the origination (of the attacks) to China," she said.

Nelson-Lawrie said that no data was stolen from the server during the attack, first reported Friday by the Times of London. She said while the union did not know exactly what the hackers were after, the suspicion was that they were out to steal performance data of the kind that might be useful to the team's competitors.

"None of our athlete information is stored on our Internet servers, for exactly that reason," she said, adding that security had been beefed up on the group's Web site.

U.S. Olympic Committee spokesman Darryl Seibel told UPI, "We are not aware of any entities or individuals trying to hack into our system."

He added that the committee was "happy" with its security arrangements. "We go to great lengths to guard against any compromise of our systems. We are aware of the dangers and we have a forward-looking plan to deal with them," he said.

He declined to say whether U.S. teams keep performance data or other athlete information online. "I'd rather not get into the specifics," he said.

Last month the non-profit Internet security research group SANS said in a report that exploiting security loopholes on custom-built Web sites was a technique increasingly being used by hackers.

Of the million or so people worldwide building such sites, SANS security chief Alan Paller told UPI, "I would estimate fewer than 300 have any in-depth knowledge of how to write secure applications."


Shaun Waterman, UPI Homeland and National Security Editor

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