Cabinet Office minister Francis Maude has warned that the London 2012 Olympic Games “will not be immune” to cyber attacks.
However, it may depend on the type of cyber attack, as the CIO for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games (LOCOG) said last year that cyber criminals would find it “very hard” to launch a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the Games’ website.
Maude, speaking on a visit to Estonia, pointed out that the Beijing Olympics in 2008 experienced 12 million cybersecurity attacks, and said that hackers would be looking to “disrupt” this year’s Games as well.
He said: "We have rightly been preparing for sometime. A dedicated unit will help guard the London Olympics against cyber attack.
"We are determined to have a safe and secure Games."
Foreign intelligence agencies, or groups working on their behalf, also continue to target UK government networks, Maude said.
He added: “We know that the threat is accelerating.”
Olympics IT outsourcer Atos said last month that it had successfully completed its first live batch of tests for London 2012. This included the testing of technology security, as well as communications, media and sports systems.
Further technology testing updates are due from Atos on 16 May.
Last November, a number of UK banks underwent an exercise to demonstrate that they can cope with a cyber attack that prevents customers from accessing cash, and public transport disruptions during the Olympics
Some 87 financial firms and banks, including HSBC, Barclays, Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds, took part in the exercise. The aim was to see how quickly the financial sector could restore services to ‘business as usual’ after major disruption.