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Olympic Surfing Can Cost Businesses More Than Time

With the 2008 Summer Games' opening ceremonies now completed (though not broadcast until tonight in the U.S) it's a safe bet that small and midsize businesses are going to be losing more and more time to employees surfing for Olympic news. Time to be sure their clicks don't turn up malware as well as event standings.
With the 2008 Summer Games' opening ceremonies now completed (though not broadcast until tonight in the U.S) it's a safe bet that small and midsize businesses are going to be losing more and more time to employees surfing for Olympic news. Time to be sure their clicks don't turn up malware as well as event standings.Every business is accustomed to loss of productivity during major sporting events. College basketball's March Madness is notorious for costing hundreds of thousands of hours of productivity, but the World Series, NFL and NBA playoffs all carry their surftime during worktime costs as well, not to mention fantasy sports leagues and, until recently, golf tournaments when Tiger was playing.

But the Olympics are likely to dwarf all of the above.

For one thing, there's duration: we've got two weeks of events coming up.

For another, there's the time difference: because the events will be time-delayed for U.S. broadcast, the hunger for Web based news and streams is going to be even larger.

For a third, this is likely to be the most wired Olympics yet, and by a long shot, with a variety of online outlets such as YouTube and FaceBook far more connected now than four years ago, and Olympic organizers and marketers know it.

And so do the hackers and crooks. There have already been phony Olympics ticket scams, at least one protest-hacking of a Beijing Olympics official site, and the first waves of an expected deluge of Olympics-related spam and malware.

Whether your business policy regarding online Olympics-watching is lenient or strict, it's worth reminding all employees that while they're watching the Games they should watch out that they -- and your business -- are not being gamed by spam and phony site scams.

In other words, let the games begin -- but let the game-surfing be done safely and securely.

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Kirsten Powell, Senior Manager for Security & Risk Management at Adobe
Joshua Goldfarb, Director of Product Management at F5