The 2024 Olympics are Preparing for the Coming Cyberthreats

The 2024 Olympics are Preparing for the Coming Cyberthreats

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The Paris 2024 Olympics is preparing to face an unprecedented challenge in terms of cybersecurity, the main threats being organized crime, activists, and states.

Paris 2024 has been working closely with the French National Agency for Information Security (ANSSI) and cybersecurity companies Cisco and Eviden, all looking for ways to limit the impact of potential cyberattacks. Director general of ANSSI Vincent Strubel told reporters: “We can’t prevent all the attacks, there will not be Games without attacks, but we have to limit their impacts on the Olympics… There are 500 sites, competition venues, and local collectives, and we’ve tested them all.”

He also expresses his confidence that they will be prepared for whatever may be coming their way: “The Games are facing an unprecedented level of threat, but we’ve also done an unprecedented amount of preparation work, so I think we’re a step ahead of the attackers.”

According to Cybernews, Paris 2024 “made sure they were in the game” by paying “ethical hackers” to stress test their systems, as well as using artificial intelligence to help them sort the threats. Franz Regul, who is the IT managing director at Paris 2024 explained: “AI helps us make the difference between a nuisance and a catastrophe. We’re expecting the number of cyber security events to be multiplied by 10 compared to Tokyo (in 2021).”

However, in the world of cybersecurity, four years is a very long time. Back in the Games of 2018, the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games was attacked by a computer virus dubbed “Olympic Destroyer.” The US Justice Department said in 2020 that it had charged six Russian intelligence agency hackers for a four-year-long hacking spree that included attacks against the Pyeongchang Games. Moscow has denied any involvement.

Strubel concluded that while they would like to have just one single opponent, they are looking into everything and everyone. “Naming the potential attackers is not our role, it is the role of the state,” he stated, and indeed, French President Emmanuel Macron said last month he had no doubt that Russia would malevolently target the Paris Olympics.