Olympic net gets gold security protection

Imagine spending three years and millions of dollars to plan a campus-style LAN for 10,500 PCs and 900 servers, knowing it would only be in place for three weeks, with thousands of TV and magazine reporters watching to see if it works?

That's what SchlumbergerSema has taken on as the IT systems and security integrator for next summer's Olympics in Athens, Greece.

SchlumbergerSema, which is working with Greek telecom operator OTE to build an IP-based network for the Olympic Village, is in charge of the security system based on bar-code badge readers to keep track of the 200,000 athletes, coaches, sports media and volunteers given admittance to authorized venues and buses. There are more than 3,000 IT personnel working with SchlumbergerSema (350 are SchlumbergerSema employees) to ensure 200 Cisco routers, 1,600 Cisco Systems Inc. switches, 24 Check Point Software Technologies Ltd. firewalls and 120 intrusion-detection systems (IDS) from assorted vendors are properly installed well before the games begin.

"Our job is to protect the information and data resources, which includes the list of competitors and information on family members coming to the games," says Jean Chevallier, vice president at SchlumbergerSema. The database of information on 200,000 people also will contain sensitive passport information and medical records.

Reporters covering the Olympics will use PCs and kiosks on the network to get competition results, historical information and background on the competitors that will be stored in Unix, Solaris and Windows NT servers. Although the PCs and servers will have anti-virus software from Computer Associates International Inc. and other vendors on them, SchlumbergerSema is taking many steps to be able to respond to worms and network attacks, should they strike.

The main way to stop these potential attacks is through Computer Associates International Inc.'s eTrust Command Center, which can keep an audit trail of network activity and collect input from the firewalls, IDS, anti-virus software and other security protections to prioritize security-related events.

"The most complicated part is the use of the centralized event tracking and the co-relation tool, which helps make decisions," Chevallier says. Use of the eTrust Command Center is expected to give the IT department at the Olympics data center a way to correlate information collected from routers, servers and IDSs to identify a possible network attack, virus or compromise.

"We're positioning thousands of probes in the network to send information to eTrust," Chevallier says.

Testing of the Olympics intranet equipment recently started at SchlumbergerSema's Technical Operations Center in Athens.

At the last Olympics in Salt Lake City, where SchlumbergerSema was the top systems integrator, a barrage of network attacks came from the Internet, Chevallier says. "In Athens, thank God, we have managed to convince everyone to isolate the games network from the Internet," he says. "It's a closed network."

Phillippe Verveer, technology director for the International Olympic Committee, which selects the IT vendors for the games, says that the Olympics has managed to ward off network attacks over the years that the public hasn't always heard about at the time. "In Albertville in '92 we had someone trying to take down the network, but because we had back-up there was no impact."

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