ISAOs to Test Safety of Olympics

Cybersecurity experts are taking advantage of the Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro to explore ways that intelligence gathering strategies, used for decades by the federal government, can work for the sports community.

The Cyber Resilience Institute has teamed up with the Colorado Army National Guard and a host of cybersecurity companies to conduct a trial run of the first "information sharing and analysis organization," or ISAO, for the professional sports industry.

"The notion is that if you share cyber threat information, you can break the cycle of attack, because other parties can prepare their defenses before the attack," said Doug DePeppe, founder of the Cyber Resilience Institute in Colorado Springs. "You've got to know what the adversary is doing, because they can circumvent any control. The internet is not secure, period."

ISAOs, which joined the intelligence-gathering world stage about a year ago, are public-private partnerships that mirror the structure of similar entities used by the Department of Homeland Security to identify security threats.

Stakeholders - which could be private companies, nonprofits, government agencies or a combination - hire ISAOs to detect and respond to virtual threats before they become reality. Threats might include a harmful digital virus, a hacker trying to access a social media account, or even an encrypted file containing information about a physical threat that has been encoded to be indecipherable to the public.

"Our strategy for starting up the sports ISAO is consistent with a lot of success in other sectors of leveraging sport and the interest in sport as a vehicle for social change," DePeppe said.

In addition to representatives from the National Guard's Defensive Cyber Operations Element and the Cyber Resilience Institute, the ISAO

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