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London 2012 CIO: ‘It’s very hard to launch a DDoS attack on us’

London 2012 CIO: ‘It’s very hard to launch a DDoS attack on us’

Gerry Pennell confident at launch of Olympic Games Technology Operations Centre

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Cyber criminals will find it “very hard” to launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the London 2012 Olympic Games website, according to the Olympic Games CIO.

Gerry Pennell, CIO at the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG), said: “The advantage is we are mostly about pushing data out.

“We can use a content distribution network, so it is very hard to launch a DDoS on us, because our front end is so dispersed.”

Other information security precautions that London 2012 are taking include keeping mission critical systems, such as those dealing with management of athletic performance, separate from any web-facing systems.  

Pennell was speaking at the official launch of the London 2012 Technology Operations Centre (TOC), which monitors and controls the IT systems that deliver the results from all the sports events during the Games. It is in the process of running test events and has so far completed 18 out of a total 42 test events.

“Whilst we are not done yet, and there are still tweaks, there have been no fundamental changes to the technology after the test events, about which I’m very pleased,” he said.

Following the completion of the test events, the TOC will be preparing for two technology rehearsals, taking place over three days in March and in May 2012. During these rehearsals, the TOC will experience hundreds of different scenarios, from cyber attacks to physical attacks such as someone unplugging cables and turning off boxes.

Around 450 staff – comprising London 2012 Technology team, staff from major IT partner Atos and other technology partners – have been employed to manage and monitor the IT, and during the Games period, 180 staff will work on each shift to provide a 24/7 service.

Meanwhile, for next year’s Games, a number of new technologies will be delivered for the first time. For example, all 26 Olympic sports and five of the Paralympic sports have been added to the Commentator Information System (CIS), which delivers results to commentators and journalists in real-time, and can also be accessed remotely from laptops.

There will also be a number of mobile applications, for platforms including iPhone, Android and Blackberry, which will focus on the delivery of results, and information to help visitors enjoy the Olympic Games experience.

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