More than 200,000 hours were logged in by Atos, the lead technology company in charge of cyber-security for the Olympic Games, for simulated attacks on their IT infrastructure. With over 11,500 computers and servers across Britain, Atos starts running its Olympic Technology Operations Center next week.
The company recruited “ethical hackers” to carry out a series of attacks aimed at finding security flaws that could be exploited. With around 12 million potential cyber security issues identified at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, roughly 14 million are expected at this yearâ€™s Olympics.
“We are using ethical hackers for that, we are using external companies, we are using people from our own company who are specialized in that kind of activity,” said Michele Hyron, chief integrator at Atos. “We are preparing ourselves in terms of testing to cover all the kind of threats to the Olympic Games.“
Atos believes their systems are hacker-proof and that the $775 million (a quarter of the London Olympic organizing committeeâ€™s overall budget of $3.1 billion) was put to good use. Detecting threats down to the millisecond and neutralizing possible attacks is the companyâ€™s top priority, said Patrick Adiba, executive vice president at Atos.
â€œIt is very unlikely, as it all operates on a very secure network. It would be quite complicated to get into this network without being detected,â€ said Adiba. â€œI can never be 100 percent, but it is close to 100 percent.
Although current threats involve online fraud, itâ€™s possible that hackers might resort to more extreme measures once the event kick-starts, warns Britainâ€™s minister responsible for cyber terrorism, Francis Maude.