As the Paris Olympic Games draw closer, security leaders warn that the event faces a high risk of targeted cyber incidents. Cyber threat activity may include disruptive and destructive operations, espionage, financial threats, information operations, hacktivism and more. These cyber incidents could impact Paris infrastructure, event sponsors, ticketing systems, athletes and spectators. 

Thomas Richards, Principal Consultant at Synopsys Inc, says, “With the Olympics being a major international event, it becomes a lightning rod of attention. It is not without controversy and attracts attention from activists, criminal organizations, and nation states. Attackers could be looking to disrupt the events or alter results. The Olympics will certainly face DDoS attacks that can be mitigated by preventing common DDoS attack patterns and building a distributed and resilient network to distribute and handle excess network traffic. Attackers will also try to infiltrate the Olympic networks through any means they can, including phishing and physically trying to access network interfaces and connection closets. Olympic employees should be trained and regularly tested to identify and prevent phishing attacks. All central networking closets should be locked and protected with additional security, like biometrics, if possible.”

Due to security incidents at previous Olympics, many believe that the security community is better prepared and equipped to manage and mitigate cyber risks. Nevertheless, those involved with the games are advised to remain vigilant against potential cyber threats, especially app-related threats. 

“The Olympic Games App is expected to be downloaded and installed by millions of people across the world. This makes it a high-value target for malicious actors seeking to exploit vulnerabilities in the app for financial, political, or other harmful purposes,” says Kelvin Lim, Senior Director at Synopsys Inc. “The 2021 Tokyo Olympic Games had 450 million cyber threats, which is two and a half times greater than the recorded number of cyberattacks during the London Olympics in 2012. A successful attack on the Olympic Games App will tarnish the image of the Olympic Games organizers. It is critical for Olympic Games App developers to follow good application security practices when developing the App and to use AppSec tools to help discover and address any vulnerabilities in the App before it is released to the public.”