An eventful – but secure – Olympics


Bode Miller may have flopped on the slopes, but the Olympics' IT security staff succeeded all the way to the finish at the recently concluded Winter Games.

Paris-based Atos Origin, the security service provider charged with guarding the Olympics' infrastructure in Turin, Italy, today reported no malicious attacks or disruptions during the game's 16-day stretch.

More than three million events took place during the Winter Games, 158 of which were deemed major and 10 critical. Some intrusion attempts included authorized users unplugging host computers to connect their own laptops and users trying to log in as administrators, according to a news release from the company.

To reach its perfect record, Atos employed access control, network segmentation and segregation, identity management and real-time security monitoring to prevent hacking attempts.

"Based on a risk assessment involving 52 attack scenarios, Atos Origin has designed and implemented strong preventive and detective measures that ensured the protection of the games' infrastructure against potential IT security breaches," according to a company press release. "At games' time, the IT security team was operational 24x7 to detect and respond to any incidents that occur, day or night."

Olympic officials praised the security efforts.

"Atos Origin was able to effectively and efficiently manage the large number of IT security events that were recorded during the games to ensure that there was no disruption to the game's IT infrastructure," said Jean-Benoit Gauthier, International Olympic Committee director.

Securing the network was crucial, especially considering hundreds of media needed to connect to transmit news.

"In an environment providing real-time information to media, any security incident, triggered with malicious intent or not, can have disastrous consequences," said Patrick Adiba, executive vice president of major events for Atos. "For a highly visible event like the Olympic Games, the challenge of IT security is not only to prevent unauthorized people from accessing the systems, but to control the activity of authorized people inside the games' network."

Atos will be responsible for IT security at the 2008 Summer Games in Beijing, the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver and the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, the company said.

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