Rostelecom uses DNS security to protect wifi users at Winter Olympics

Russian operator Rostelecom has revealed that it used a DNS-based network security solution to protect its free wifi hotspots at the Sochi Winter Olympic Games last month.

During the Games, reports suggested that visitors using local wifi were subjected to mass attempts by cybercriminals to hack their phones, laptops or tablets. One NBC report claimed that visitors’ devices would be hacked the moment they were switched on, a claim that has since been refuted in some quarters.

Rostelecom has now revealed that to counteract such threats it deployed DNS applications vendor Nominum’s Vantio ThreatAvert security solution across its free wifi hotspots earlier this year. It said it did so to protect its network in anticipation of a sudden influx of visitors expected to access the free wifi in the city.

The Nominum solution uses DNS data to protect operators from threats originating within the network, such as from botnets. The solution draws on Nominum’s Global Intelligence Xchange, which provides continuous real-time threat updates drawn from a list of malicious domains and URLs.

Threats such as botnets are increasingly common, according to Nominum, which added that robust network solutions must be deployed by operators to counteract them and safeguard their networks.

“With a sudden increase in users on our network we needed a solution that would both protect users and our network assets,” said Muslim Medzhlumov, head of network security department at Rostelecom. He added that the operator selected Vantio ThreatAvert due to the complete protection it offers and the added ability to prevent inappropriate content being viewed.

“These threats slow internet speeds, reduce service and damage brand reputation.”

Sanjay Kapoor, SVP business strategy and CMO at Nominum added: “It is vital that visitors using wifi hotspots are able to access communications services without having to face any personal risk, but also CSPs need to equip themselves with defenses that ensure their networks operate seamlessly and deliver a safe and reliable internet experience.”

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