Hackers are also getting ready for the Olympics

It’s not just top athletes that’ll go toe-to-toe in Paris this summer — it will also be the stage for a showdown between hackers and cybersecurity teams.

Driving the news: Organizers of the Paris 2024 Olympics worked with France’s national security agency and companies like Cisco and Eviden to fortify their defences against cyberattacks. They’ve also enlisted white-hat hackers to probe systems for vulnerabilities.

Catch-up: The Olympics are a major target for cybercrime. While people watched the Pyeongchang 2018 opening ceremonies, teams worked behind the scenes to reverse the damage from the “Olympic Destroyer” hack, which took down nearly every IT system, from security scanners to the Olympic Village’s WiFi.

  • The Tokyo 2020 Olympics faced over 450 million attempted attacks. The capabilities of cybercriminals have boomed since then, so organizers in Paris are expecting that number to be eight to 12 times higher.

Why it matters: Successful hacks would force France and the International Olympic Committee to use a lot of resources to fix the problem. ‘Waste France’s time’ might seem like a petty goal, but it’d be a big win for hackers backed by countries with an axe to grind.

  • But the Olympics are an irresistible opportunity for a lot of hackers, whether they want to grab cash flowing into Paris, make a political statement, or steal athletes’ personal information.

Zoom out: French President Emmanuel Macron has “no doubt” that Russia will target the games. Russia would have motives to embarrass the IOC — which still bans athletes from competing under the Russian flag — and France — Russia’s most vocal critic in Europe and a supplier of weapons and training to Ukraine.