When IT Meets Politics

Jul 30 2012   6:42PM GMT

Has the Olympic cyberwar begun?

Philip Virgo Profile: Philip Virgo


The refusal to accept Visa payments at Wembley has been blamed on a local fault but had they just discovered that they were using compromised readers . Thre is an intersting juxtaposition of stoires in the Daily Telegraph today. The problems with US card readers (they have yet to switch to chip and pin) being used to milk customer details have been known for some years. With visitors from the US world coming to London for the Olympics there was always likely to be a problem? Was this a first symptom? What comes next?    

The Atlanta Olympics was the test bed for the Internet. It was the first games to be organised using Internet protocols, incluidng for ticketing. The sytems had negligible security and it was said that if fraud was below 4% of turnover it would be counted a success. Fraud was negligible because few criminals and terrorists (apart from the Tamils and Al Qaeda) had yet to discover the Internet. Which on-line operations today could withstand losing up to 4% of turnover through fraud?

This is the first games to be held in a major financial centre since 1948. The Internet will indeed have come of age if card fraud and on-line can be held to negligible amounts without seriously inconveniencing customers. However, the temptation, at least for Daily Telegraph readers, to carry sufficient cash to be worth mugging, in case your cards do not work, has  just risen.  

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