Are Atos and technology partners ready to block cyber attacks on 2024 Paris?

France and several technology partners are facing the possibility of major cyber attacks on Paris 2024 — during the July 26-August 11 Olympics and the August 28-September 8 Paralympics.
Atos @ Paris 2024France-based IT services provider Atos is the exclusive Official Cybersecurity Services and Operations Supporter for the event.

Cybersecurity companies Cisco and Eviden are looking to limit the impact of cyber attacks on Paris 2024, Reuters news report said. Paris 2024 has already opened a page on cyber security FAQs. Atos coodinates with cyber security partners to ensure that it is meeting all demans under the managed services contract.

Sweden-based cybersecurity firm Outpost24 gave a broad thumbs-up to Paris’ preparations in a report this week, but said its research still found gaps in the Games’ online infrastructure, AP news report said.

The recent IDC blog says organizations in Europe will increase spending on cybersecurity services by $150 million in 2024 to mitigate Games-related risks. Of this figure, 63 percent ($94 million) will be spent in France.

Some threats will target IT assets in use for the Games, while others will utilize phishing content themed around the Olympics to trick users into clicking on malicious links (among many other threat types).

Since 1992, Atos has been the technology integrator for the Olympic and Paralympic Games. In this role, Atos integrates the work of the other technology partners of the Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Atos will be delivering:

Security Operations Center (SOC)

Security Response Orchestration, Automation and Coordination (SOAR)

Security Information and Event Management (SIEM)

Emergency response team and the management of cybersecurity incidents and threat hunting (CERT/CSIRT)

Advanced Data Leakage Protection (DLP)

Online fraud prevention including behavioural analysis based on Artificial Intelligence (AI)

Privileged access management (PAM)

The cash strapped Atos is a global cybersecurity leader, number 1 in Europe and number 3 worldwide, with a network of 15 Security Operations Centers (SOC) and 6000 security experts globally and a rich portfolio of cybersecurity products.

Atos plays a key role in managing the TOC, which operates 24/7 throughout the Games period. This includes the deployment of a range of IT equipment to support the running of the competitions and the delivery of results, as well as supporting the 140 Venue IT Managers and 60 Venue Results Managers across all Paris 2024 operational locations.

Christophe Thivet, Atos’ Chief Integration Officer for Paris 2024, said: “The success of the Olympic and Paralympic Games mostly depends on the ability to integrate, manage and ensure uptime for technologies and IT systems.”

The TOC is one of three technology hubs dedicated to the Olympic and Paralympic Games, along with Barcelona’s Central Technology Operations Centre (CTOC) and the Integration Testing Lab (ITL) in Madrid.

This summer, test events conducted for 18 sports at 11 competition venues helped the TOC and CTOC teams to assess Atos’ systems and applications in real time – following tests held from the ITL. By July 2024, more than 250,000 hours of testing will have been completed.

“We can’t prevent all the attacks, there will not be Games without attacks but we have to limit their impacts on the Olympics,” Vincent Strubel, director general of the French national agency for information security (ANSSI), told reporters. “There are 500 sites, competition venues and local collectives, and we’ve tested them all.”

Vincent Strubel is confident that Paris 2024, who will operate from a cybersecurity operation centre in a location that is being kept secret, will be ready.

To make sure they are in the game, Paris 2024 have been paying “ethical hackers” to stress test their systems and have been using artificial intelligence to help them do a triage of the threats.

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

“We’re expecting the number of cyber security event to be multiplied by 10 compared to Tokyo (in 2021).”

“In terms of cybersecurity, four years is the equivalent of a century,” Eric Greffier, head of partnerships at CISCO, explained.

The 2024 Olympic and Paralympics are projected to have 9.7 million spectators across 40 official sites. Hackers have previously attacked most of the sporting events and here are the cyber incidents on other Olympics.

In 2018, a computer virus dubbed “Olympic Destroyer” was used in an attack on the opening ceremony of the Pyeongchang Winter Games.

While Moscow denied any involvement, the U.S. Justice Department in 2020 said it has indicted six Russian intelligence agency hackers for a four-year long hacking spree that included attacks against the Pyeongchang Games.

Baburajan Kizhakedath

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