Paris organizers battling cyber threats with vigilance and innovation

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As the world eagerly awaits the Paris 2024 Olympics, organizers are gearing up to tackle an unprecedented challenge – cybersecurity. With the Games set to take place from July 26 to August 11, followed by the Paralympics from August 28 to September 8, the stakes are higher than ever.

Vincent Strubel, Director General of the French national agency for information security (ANSSI), acknowledges the looming threats: “Organized crime, activists, and states will be the main threats during the Games.” However, Strubel is confident that Paris 2024, in collaboration with ANSSI, cybersecurity companies Cisco, and Eviden, will be well-prepared.

Preparation has been extensive, with Strubel emphasizing, “There are 500 sites, competition venues, and local collectives, and we’ve tested them all.” Paris 2024 will operate from a cybersecurity operation center, the location of which is being kept secret, to stay ahead of potential attackers.

To strengthen their defenses, Paris 2024 has enlisted the help of “ethical hackers” to stress-test their systems and is leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) to identify and mitigate threats. Franz Regul, managing director for IT at Paris 2024, highlights the importance of AI, stating, “AI helps us make the difference between a nuisance and a catastrophe.”

Eric Greffier, head of partnerships at Cisco, underscores the rapid evolution of cybersecurity, noting, “In terms of cybersecurity, four years is the equivalent of a century.” This sentiment is echoed by the memory of the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Games, where a computer virus known as “Olympic Destroyer” disrupted the opening ceremony.

While the source of the attack was attributed to Russian hackers, Strubel remains diplomatic, stating, “Naming the potential attackers is not our role, it is the role of the state.” Recent comments from French President Emmanuel Macron suggest that Russia could pose a threat to the Paris Olympics.

Against the backdrop of global conflicts and tensions, including Russia’s war in Ukraine and Israel’s conflict with Hamas, the cybersecurity challenge adds another layer of complexity to Paris 2024. However, with meticulous planning and innovative strategies, Paris 2024 is poised to host a safe and secure Olympic Games.

(Source: SC Media | Associated Press | Euro News)

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