One hour before the opening ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games was due to start, the network operations team at the event’s network provider, Optus, started seeing massive traffic spikes on their telco network. Here comes the distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack, they thought, and they had plenty of reasons to be worried. Only two months earlier, the Olympic Destroyer worm had disrupted the opening ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea, deleting files and corrupting systems. One month before the April 4 ceremony on Australia’s Gold Coast, the internet had seen a DDoS attack hitting 1.3 to 1.7 terabytes of data per second. Optus wasn’t just the Games’ network provider either. It was a Tier 1 sponsor. “Our brand was going to be all over everything you saw to do with the Games. That’s like putting a target on your back,” says Narelle Wakely principal security advisor with Trustwave, an Optus company. “We had similar infrastructure and applications to the Winter Olympics. And so it really put us on heightened alert,” Wakely told APNIC 48, the twice-yearly conference of the Asia Pacific Network Information Centre, in Chiang Mai, Thailand, on Tuesday. “We had rising escalations between the UK government and the Russian government, with the former spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter getting poisoned on UK soil,” she said. “We also had the traditional foes of the US and North Korea talking about coming together for face-to-face meetings for the first time that could possibly be happening… [Read full story]
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