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Japan will take steps to guard against Olympics cyberattacks

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Japan said on Tuesday it would take countermeasures to ensure next year's Tokyo Olympics are not derailed by cyberattacks after Britain and the United States accused Russia of orchestrating efforts to disrupt the Games.

FILE PHOTO: The giant Olympic rings, which are being temporarily removed for maintenance, are seen behind Japan's national flag, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, at the waterfront area at Odaiba Marine Park in Tokyo, Japan August 6, 2020. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

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TOKYO: Japan said on Tuesday it would take countermeasures to ensure next year's Tokyo Olympics are not derailed by cyberattacks after Britain and the United States accused Russia of orchestrating efforts to disrupt the Games.

Olympics organisers reported no significant impact on their operations for the 2020 Games, which were postponed until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Britain and the United States on Monday condemned what they said were a series of malicious cyberattacks orchestrated by Russian military intelligence, including attempts to disrupt the Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov denied the allegations, attributing them to "Russophobia". He told reporters: "Russia has never carried out any hacking activities against the Olympics."

Japanese chief cabinet secretary Katsunobu Kato said Japan would make every effort to protect the Games from possible hacking attempts.

"We cannot turn a blind eye to malicious cyberattacks that threaten democracy," Kato told a news conference, adding that Japan was gathering and analysing information and in close contact with Britain and the United States.

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"The Olympics are a major international event that attract attention, and cybersecurity measures are extremely important."

British officials said on Monday the hackers from Russia's GRU military intelligence agency had also conducted "cyber reconnaissance" operations against Tokyo Games organisers.

They declined to give specific details about the latest attacks or say whether they were successful but said they had targeted Games organisers, logistics suppliers and sponsors.

The organising committee said in a statement they had already made extensive cybersecurity preparations and that there had been little disruption to its platforms.

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"While we have constantly monitored various types of cyberattack on the digital platforms owned by Tokyo 2020, no significant impact has been observed in our operations," spokesman Masa Takaya said.

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