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Queensland-based cybersecurity experts say the 2032 Olympic Games will be at heightened risk of cyber-attacks and should serve as a focus for fortifying the state from hackers.
Hacks to Optus and Medibank exposed the risks associated with not ensuring private data is protected.
The 2032 Olympics in Brisbane will get global attention which will need to be matched with precautions against hackers, experts warn.
Chris Hockings, the chief technology officer for Asia Pacific with IBM Security, said the Olympics would put south-east Queensland into the eyes of the world in ways both good and bad.
“When major events come it brings scrutiny – Japan for example was the number one most targeted country in the Asia Pacific region, and there are implications that may have been due to the global focus that the recent summer Olympics brought there,” he said.
“There’re occasions that happen from time to time where you get global attention, and it does bring unwanted attention, and with the 2032 Olympics that’s something I’m sure the government will be thinking about.”
A report by the Queensland Auditor-General warned the state was leaving itself at increasing risk of attack on public systems because it was not upgrading IT systems fast enough and relying too much on legacy systems.
“Public sector entities, small and large, must recognise this is a genuine risk to them and act to mitigate the risk. Their profile makes them a target,” Brendan Worrall wrote.
“This is even more important as the state government prepares for the 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.”
Hockings identified the state’s “critical infrastructure” as a natural target, and the Queensland government was probing the state’s power grid’s ability to deal with cybersecurity threats to supplies.
The IBM Security Lab is based on the Gold Coast, after the IT giant acquired a Queensland-based start-up in 1999.
Gold Coast software architect Holly Wright of IBM Security said she did not realise when she was training that she could get a role with a global IT company in her home city.
She said exploiting the depth of talent in Queensland was critical to ensuring the state punched above its weight in the cybersecurity space.
“We have world leaders in the cybersecurity space right here on the Gold Coast and elsewhere in the state, and that’s a major advantage we should capitalise on,” she said.
Federal Senator for Queensland Anthony Chisholm this week was on hand to unveil an independent report into the economic impact of IBM Security.
The report found the lab played an important role in growing a skilled cybersecurity workforce locally as well as contributing to the local economy and offering outreach programs for young people wanting to pursue a career in STEM.
Federal Senator for Queensland Anthony Chisholm presents the independent Impact Report for the IBM Security Lab on the Gold Coast.Credit:IBM
Hockings urged government departments and private businesses to invest in two-factor authentication to stop many basic hacking attempts.
“It’s the single most-effective mechanism everyone can implement to raise the bar and make it harder for adversaries to get into systems,” he said.
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