I's another manic Monday, and you’re racing to drop off the kids, fight traffic, and get to work in time—to watch the Olympics.
Americans are putting in time at the office—not to do actual work, but to watch Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh Jennings go for gold in beach volleyball. Or the hot, post-Hunger Games event of archery. Or men’s trampoline. (Yes, men’s trampoline! Who knew there was such a thing, and that the aptly named Dong Dong of China would win it?)
The Olympics will cost U.S. companies a $1.38 billion loss in productivity, according to the digital media company Captivate Network. In Los Angeles, so many City Hall employees were streaming live coverage of the games on their work computers that the chief technology officer begged them to stop or it would threaten the city’s entire cyber system.
The bad guys know we’re all glued to our work stations and company-issued smartphones, and they’ve trained harder than Ryan Lochte did for the 400-Individual Medley for this moment.
Here’s what you need to know:
• Those shocking Olympics news stories may be loaded with malware. Hackers are posting multimedia content loaded with malware. This content may seem innocuous, appearing as a picture, video, game result or shocking news. But it could get you to unwittingly divulge confidential information—yours and your company’s.
• Check with your security team. A good security team will take time to educate and remind employees about possible threats during big events such as the Olympics. This may come in the form of online training, internal social media portals, and other effective ways of reaching workers. If your company hasn’t offered any education on the subject, touch base with the security director to see what steps you should take to protect your work devices.
• I's not just the Olympics. Any major event—the Stanley Cup, the NCAA Basketball Championship, The Masters—attracts bad guys who are trying to make money off their cyber weaponry. End users are advised to exercise caution. If something seems too good to be true—say, free uncensored content or VIP access—then it probably is.
The emerging theme from these Summer Games: There’s a general lack of awareness among consumers and end users about possible threats when they’re online. Even with corporate security professionals on high alert, it is ultimately end user and consumer who will make the choice that could infects the system.
Ondrej has more than a decade of network and computer security experience. His expertise extends to investigations of intellectual property theft, massive deletions, defragmentation, anti-money laundering and computer hacking. He led U.S. computer security projects at Stroz Friedberg and worked in IT security at Loews Corp.