How secure is the Winter Olympics, really?

Hackers have already struck during the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. Terrorists no longer need to be physically present because they can use computers or drones as their means for attack.

Hackers have already struck during the Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang. Ticketing systems and the official web pages were subjected to cyberattacks during the opening ceremony. Terrorists no longer need to be physically present because they can use computers or drones as their means for attack.

Each year the need for better security grows, and this is evident in the 23rd Olympic Games. According to ABC News, the host country security staff is no less than 60,000 people, including 50,000 soldiers. This doubles the Olympic Summer Games security staff in Rio de Janeiro in 2016.

Eight hundred surveillance cameras are in use during the games, underlining the fact that information technology is central as a countermeasure as well as a threat. The opening ceremony was not only the official kick-off for the games, but also for hackers to start their probes, according to The Guardian.

Preparation is the best prevention

For Basefarm, and everyone involved in managing mission critical IT systems and solutions, the recent security threats contain few surprises.

Secret agents, commando soldiers and intelligence officers seem exotic, but they are just the more noticeable than the everyday security of protecting information and computer access. Just like the Olympic Winter Games IT security staff, Basefarm is prepared for hostilities. These could be DDoS attacks, data breaches, data losses or other incidents.

Before the event even started the Olympic systems have been thoroughly tested through the use of Vulnerability Assessments and Penetration tests, in order to lower the risks by finding issues before an attacker does, just as Basefarm does as a service.


“To ensure the protection of Basefarm clients we have Security Incident Response Teams who work in close collaboration with our Security Operations department.”
Fredrik Svantes, Senior Information Security Manager at Basefarm

Svantes continues: “ We work proactively before incidents occur by implementing security solutions such as Web Application Firewalls, SIEM or IDS solutions. We also work with forensics when an incident occurs, to determine what happened and how to prevent it from happening again.”

Hacking to alter doping results

The Olympic committee is also preparing for hacking attempts to alter doping results, and even the athletes might be targets with the aim to reduce their performance. An attacker might, for example, release sensitive personal information such as delicate pictures in an attempt to influence athlete preparations and performance.

One way to protect yourself against these type of attacks is to use Multi Factor Authentication to secure personal data and other IT services. As a bare minimum one should use a password manager to ensure that the same password is not used for multiple services.

“Sharing is caring”

For two years, the US Diplomatic Security Service has been preparing in South Korea. Reistad is the Olympic security coordinator for this huge agency with a staff of 45,000 in no less than 170 countries.

“The main strength we bring is information sharing. It doesn’t help any of us to stay compartmentalized over here,” Craig Reistad said to Wired Magazine.

Coordination is key

Information sharing and coordination can prevent or reduce the extent of incidents. Coordination starts well in advance and is not something to establish as the incident unfolds. Lack of coordination can ultimately cause small issues to develop into a crisis. Good organization and information sharing between various security stakeholders is therefore an important measure during the Winter Games.

Basefarm also stresses the importance of information sharing. We are a member of, which is a global information security forum for information sharing which has stringent requirements for joining. Basefarm is also a member of TF-CSIRT and one of the founders of the Swedish CERT-Forum, which assists us to even further increase our information sharing in the information security field.

Security steals headlines during every big event, but keeping your systems and information secure is what we in Basefarm do every day.

Fredrik Svantes, Senior Information Security Manager in Basefarm

Fredrik Svantes is Senior Information Security Manager in Basefarm
who has a long experience of security leadership and is heading our global,
Security Incident Response Team.

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