With a budget of 7 billion euros, some billion viewers, 12 million spectators, 30,000 volunteers, 10,000 athletes, 206 countries and 40 places, the Paris 2024 Olympic Games represent the most prestigious sporting event for France and the world attracting a large number of cybercriminals.
The 2024 Olympic Games are hardly immune to possible cyberattacks and can be a primary target. Moreover, during the previous edition of 2021 “in Tokyo, there were 450 million attacks, eight times more than in Rio in 2016. And 4.4 billion threats, or 800 threats per second. But zero impact on the games,” said Christophe Thivet, director at Atos of the technological integration of the 2024 Games.
THE RISKS OF CYBER ATTACKS DURING THE 2024 OG
According to Bruno Marie-Rose, director of technology and information systems at the Paris 2024 Organizing Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (OCOG), the Olympic Games could be the target of several cyberattacks, especially since the information systems form the operation’s backbone of this major event.
The 2024 Olympics, a premier global event, would inevitably attract a significant media attention. However, this increased media exposure could unfortunately attract the attention of cybercriminals looking to exploit vulnerabilities in the Olympics infrastructure. These attacks take various forms such as data theft, disruption of computer networks, phishing, leaking personal data, creating fraudulent websites, sending malicious emails, codes or software, or spread false information on social networks. This situation would cause major disruptions and threaten the security of the event.
For several months, the organizers of the 2024 Olympic Games have taken measures to ensure the security of the event by carefully monitoring all the systems involved, including social networks. This approach aims to block any attack susceptible to disrupt the competitions, jeopardize the confidentiality of the personal data of athletes and visitors, or even cause considerable financial damage to the organizers of the Olympic Games. Especially since attacks of this kind have already been spotted in ticket offices for example and according to Franz Regul, no “serious activity” has been reported by the team responsible for monitoring the network and this thanks to the resistance systems.
Nevertheless, according to Christophe Thivet, “we can change images on institutional sites, we can interrupt a competition or a ceremony…”. This is why it is essential to properly secure all computer systems because hackers could try to penetrate the networks at any time.
The Organizing Committee of the 2024 Olympics Games has been aware of the potential threat of cyberattacks for more than three years before the event, for this, international collaboration between governments, companies and organizations involved in the Olympics is fundamental.
Thus, with the support of experts from Atos and Cisco, partners of the event, Franz Regul, the cybersecurity manager at the Paris 2024 OCOG, announced “like the athletes who will be at the games, we prepare”, so that everyone is ready to ensure the security of the network and the technologies that will be deployed. In addition, due to the scale of the event, the partners will be supported by the services of the National Agency for the Security of Information Systems (ANSSI) and the Interior Ministry because securing electronic systems and data turns out to be a very delicate task.
SECURITY MEASURES IMPLEMENTED TO PREVENT CYBER ATTACKS
In order to guarantee the security of the 2024 Olympic Games against all potential risks, Franz Regul announced the establishment of a “Cybersecurity Control Tower” which will be equiped with advanced technologies and managed by experts and analysts in charge of detecting any malicious activity. Especially, it is expected that the teams in charge of network security will implement advanced security measures, including in particular :
According to Franz Regul, “we are setting up training courses for participants in the organization, we will distribute awareness guides when the time comes and we have set up activities to raise awareness among our employees, in particular an escape game”. It is therefore essential to make participants aware of computer security through computer security training, which represents a strategic solution to protect against cyber risks of all types.
This will mainly consist of monitoring all networks and computer systems 24 hours a day, using effective tools and methods, such as intrusion detection, in order to identify any flaws or vulnerabilities as quickly as possible. This monitoring can be implemented using a managed SOC.
Pentest and audits can evaluate the resistance of information systems to cyberattacks, they simulate real attacks as if they were real external hackers in order to identify vulnerabilities and weak points in the system. The obtained results make it possible to improve security and strengthen existing protection measures in order to prevent future cyberattacks.
In order to preserve sensitive data related to the 2024 Olympics, the latter will be encrypted to prevent unauthorized access. These measures have been taken upstream in order to guarantee the protection of IT infrastructures and network security on a global level.
The organizers of the 2024 Olympics have made network security their top priority, not only to ensure the safety of athletes and spectators, but also to strengthen France’s reputation for IT security. However, it is essential that athletes and staff are aware of the risks involved and are committed to respecting the security protocols in place so that the 2024 Olympic Games can take place safely and without incident.
The Organizing Committee for the 2024 Olympic Games takes cybersecurity very seriously, so they have decided to work with professionals from the cyber defense community. There are computer security professionals, some of whom are offensive security specialists.
https://www.francetvinfo.fr/les-jeux-olympiques/paris-2024/paris-2024-comment-les- organisateurs-ont-ils-structure-la-billetterie-pour-faire-face-aux- cyberattaques_5710715.html.
https://www.20minutes.fr/paris/4034140-20230424-jo-paris-2024-menace-cyberattaques- plane-deja- competition