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DHS to Pitch in on Cybersecurity for Olympic Games

Olympic logos are projected on Tokyo Metropolitan Government building during the Tokyo 2020 flag tour festival for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Monday, July 24, 2017.

Olympic logos are projected on Tokyo Metropolitan Government building during the Tokyo 2020 flag tour festival for the 2020 Games in Tokyo, Monday, July 24, 2017. // Shizuo Kambayashi/AP

The Homeland Security Department will pitch in to ensure the cybersecurity of the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, according to a joint statement from the U.S. and Japanese governments released Monday.

The statement also announced a new joint training effort related to digital protections on industrial control systems that operate dams, electric utilities and other critical infrastructure. The training program will be run by DHS and Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The joint statement follows the fifth U.S.-Japan cyber dialogue in Tokyo last week.

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This is the nations’ final joint dialogue with outgoing State Department Cybersecurity Coordinator Chris Painter at the helm. Painter will leave his post at the end of the month and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is reportedly considering dissolving the cyber coordinator’s office into State’s economic bureau.

Since the coordinator’s office was launched in 2011, officials there have managed dozens of bilateral cyber dialogues with Japan, Germany, the United Kingdom, South Korea and other nations.

The meetings typically focus on improving information sharing about cyber threats, establishing joint training exercises and embracing various international rules of the road in cyberspace—often in vague and diplomatic language.

Monday’s statement, for example, stressed the importance both nations place on an “accessible, open, interoperable, reliable and secure cyberspace” and expressed concern about “malicious cyber activities [that] have the potential to undermine peace, prosperity, and stability of the international community.”

The nations also agreed to cooperate on better classifying the severity of cyber incidents and to share approaches to combating botnets—the armies of zombie computers that attackers use to target websites with distributed denial-of-service attacks meant to force them offline. 

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