2012 IT chief says an attack will “happen for sure”
Gerry Pennell, CIO of the London 2012 Olympics
Gerry Pennell, CIO of the London 2012 Olympics told CBR that, "We will be the target of a cyber attack. It’ll happen for sure."
The stark warning came as London 2012 and Atos Origin launched a technology lab that will test all aspects of the technology infrastructure ahead of the 2012 Olympic Games.
"We’re working with our partners and government bodies to make sure our defences are adequate," Pennell said. "Games have been attacked before so we’re spending a significant amount of time on security."
It’s hardly surprising that Pennell is concerned. In October the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) said cyber terrorists and foreign states launch 1,000 malicious attacks on Britain every month. The head of the GCHQ Iain Lobban said then that his spies have found 20,000 hostile emails on government computer networks.
The director of the Cheltenham intelligence centre said the threat of cyber attacks on critical infrastructure – such as nuclear power stations – was both real and credible.
"We have seen theft of intellectual property on a massive scale, some of it not just sensitive to the commercial enterprises in question but of national security concern too," he said.
Describing the imminent threat to the London 2012 Olympics, 2012 CIO Pennell said: "Attacks could include a DDoS [distributed denial of service] that affects the website or an attack that aims to bring down the entire infrastructure."
Speaking at an event to mark the launch of the IT testing phase of the 2012 Olympics, the event’s chair Sebastian Coe said, "This process is about readiness. It’s about testing to the point where we know no stone has been left unturned. We can’t afford to let it unravel for kids that have trained and worked so hard to compete."
The 2,000 square metre Technology Lab contains 880 PCs, 130 servers, 110 network switches and will initially be staffed by around 70 people. When the games kick off, Atos Origin, as Worldwide IT Partner for the Olympic and Paralympic Games, will be in charge of 900 servers, 1,000 network and security devices and just under 20,000 technology devices including 9,500 computers.