London 2012 Organizers Believe Technology Systems are Safe from Cyber Attacks

October 11, 2011

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Olympic organisers for London 2012 say the technology systems for next year’s games have tested thoroughly and can withstand the danger of cyber attacks.

The Technology Operations center, which will monitor security, power, telecommunications and the results systems that will send Olympic data to fans and the world’s media, opened Monday in the Canary Wharf section of London.

Paul Deighton, chief executive of London organizing committee LOCOG, said: “Security is a big concern of the games and cyber security is a major part of that. We are obviously very attentive of the risks involved.

“The key steps we’ve taken to protect these systems are really to make sure we have an independent Olympic-dedicated network which gives us an insulation from the rest of the world that makes it much harder to penetrate.”

A quarter of LOCOG’s overall budget of $3.1 billion has been spent on technology, with organizers expecting to process 30 percent more results than at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

A 450-member team of experts has been working out of the center, trying out the technology in a series of Olympics test events this year.

“It went very well,” Deighton said. “It was a good way to break in the kind of coordination and monitoring we’ll need.

“All the testing we’ve put in place on technology ahead of the games— that’s one of the prime purposes of these test events—gives me a lot of confidence that the technology would be capable of withstanding any problems.”

Deighton is confident there will be no repeat of the technological problems that occurred at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Since 2002, Atos—a Europe-based information technology firm—has been the lead technological company for the Summer and Winter Games.

“Every part of the system has a contingency arrangement,” Deighton said. “Many of the tests we have exercised on have worked on the basis that, if we do that instead of that, how do we recover and how does the show go on?

“If Usain Bolt breaks the world record, the timing system needs to work. We don’t want to ask him to do it again.”