Hackers target Olympic intelligence

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The Independent Online

Concerns that China may have been snooping on information about Britain's Olympic competitors have been brought to the attention of the International Olympic Committee by Simon Clegg, the chief executive of the British Olympic Association.

Clegg has highlighted his concerns over the safety of team information after the databases of two sporting governing bodies were hacked into, according to a newspaper report. GB Canoeing was targeted in October and the IT system of the Amateur Boxing Association of England (ABAE) was then subject to eight attacks over a three-week period, with activity being traced back to internet protocol addresses in China, hosts of next summer's Games.

British governing bodies were warned by letter several weeks ago of the potential threat to their files.

"Attention was drawn to us about this situation, and I thought we had a responsibility to share it with the Olympic family," Clegg said. "It is a real danger when you consider how much information is held electronically. I am concerned about the amount of information we hold in this way."

Paul King, the chief executive of the ABAE, went a step further by raising fears over spying leading up to and at next year's Games in Beijing. "This wasn't kids mucking around," he said. "This was a real professional job. We were concerned that data had been downloaded and taken away, but we do not believe that that has been the case. We think it might be someone trying to get into our Olympic intelligence, though we have no evidence to believe that."

A report on the GB Canoeing site by IT specialists Synergic UK Ltd stated: "In this case the source was China and the type of attack highly sophisticated and targeted. Fortunately, the servers involved held no performance data and it is our belief that this was the information sought."

A lawyer representing Greek sprinter Ekaterina Thanou says she will consider legal action if the Sydney Olympics 100 metres gold medal, stripped from the disgraced sprinter Marion Jones by the IOC this week, is not awarded to her.