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Cyber attacks cause concern for the 2024 Olympic Games

Report reveals that 70% of sports organisations suffer at least one cyber attack a year

Cyber attacks cause concern for the 2024 Olympic Games Report reveals that 70% of sports organisations suffer at least one cyber attack a year

As the Paris Olympic Games and Euro 2024 in Germany approach, a worrying threat looms over these events: cyberattacks. These malicious actions, carried out by cybercriminals in the manner of Elliot Alderson in the series Mr. Robot, aim to steal, modify, or destroy confidential information using computer technologies. After all the turmoil and fears that the Olympics have sparked so far with health concerns, housing prices, the eviction of homeless people, and issues related to Fashion Weeks, a recent investigation brings more bad news. This investigation, published by the UK's National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC), reveals that 70% of sports organizations experience at least one cyberattack per year. The numbers are alarming: attacks have increased twentyfold from the Olympic Games of 2012 to 2021, reaching 4.4 billion attacks in Tokyo in 2021. Cybercriminals exploit the global popularity of sports, aiming to steal sensitive and financial data through phishing campaigns and ransomware attacks.

The sophistication of cyberattacks spares no one, from spectators to streaming service providers. We recall that during the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, FuboTV was a victim of a cyberattack, disrupting services and angering fans. This situation prompted many channels to review their security to avoid future incidents. The attacks extend to ticket fraud and online scams, taking advantage of the growing digitalization of sports events. System security and user awareness are more crucial than ever to protect the integrity of competitions. Faced with this growing threat, sports organizations must strengthen their defenses. This includes improving computer system security with firewalls, detection software, and preventive security operations, adopting robust encryption protocols to fortify networks against unauthorized access, and conducting regular security checks to quickly identify or correct security vulnerabilities.

In response to this growing threat, the Organizing Committee of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games (COJO) is implementing robust security measures, learning from previous editions. The cybersecurity budget, exceeding 17 million euros, includes large-scale simulations, training, and strengthening digital infrastructures. While we await these upcoming sports events, collaboration between stakeholders, cybersecurity experts, and technology companies is essential to monitor and counter threats. By adopting these proactive measures and educating users about the risks, the sports sector can hope to preserve the inspiration and unity that these events provide, despite the persistent shadow of these cyberattacks.