Paris Olympics Preparing for Cyber Attacks

Paris Olympics Preparing for Cyber Attacks

Todd Faulk Todd Faulk
Published on: May 13, 2024

Paris 2024, the group organizing the 26 July–11 August 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, is working with government and private sector cybersecurity entities to thwart potential cyber attacks that may disrupt the world’s preeminent sporting event.

“We can’t prevent all the attacks — there will not be Games without attacks — but we have to limit their impacts on the Olympics,” said Vincent Strubel, the director-general of the French national agency for information security known as ANSSI, which is working closely with Paris 2024.

“We’re expecting the number of cyber security events to be multiplied by 10 compared to Tokyo (in 2021). In terms of cybersecurity, [three] years is the equivalent of a century,” Eric Greffier, head of partnerships at Cisco, explained. Cisco and Eviden are two of the cybersecurity companies that have partnered with Paris 2024 to help prevent cybersecurity attacks against Olympic venues and events.

Paris 2024 and its partners have hired “ethical hackers” to stress test the IT and cybersecurity systems of the Games. They have been using AI to conjure cyber threats and potential responses to help mitigate them.

“AI helps us make the difference between a nuisance and a catastrophe,” Franz Regul, managing director for IT at Paris 2024, told reporters.

Organized hacking groups, activists, and state actors will be the principal cyber threats, Paris 2024 believes. Russia’s war against Ukraine and Israel’s war against Hamas are two of the main drivers creating threats against this year’s Games. French President Macron has already told the press he has no doubt that Russia will attempt to create cyber havoc at the Olympics.

In 2018, during the Pyeongchang Winter Games in South Korea, the “Olympic Destroyer” cyberattack disrupted Wi-Fi in the main stadium’s press room, briefly took down the Games’ website, and interfered with some TV broadcasts.

In 2020, the US Justice Department indicted 6 Russian intelligence officers for leading a 4-year spree of cyberattacks against Western targets, including the Pyeongchang Games.

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