Expecting the Unexpected

Securing the Rio 2016 Olympic Games

Expecting the unexpected


The Olympic and Paralympic Games have – once again – seen unprecedented feats of strength, resilience and focus.  With many new records set, we’ve seen record figures of our own.  The number of IT security events detected at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games were a staggering  510 million, which means 400 per second. While this is a breath-taking figure in its own right, it’s also double the equivalent figure from the London 2012 Olympic Games. We also registered 120 number of IT security events per second during the Paralympic Games.

When it comes to providing water-tight IT security in environments with immovable deadlines and zero tolerance for failure, the trick is to expect the unexpected. The ingenuity and sophistication of cyber-criminals demands to be taken seriously – every day hackers work to come up with new ways to disrupt IT systems, and in return corporations have to keep one step ahead to ensure their systems and data remain secure.

We left absolutely nothing to chance.  Prior to the event, we undertook 200,000 hours of testing and full ‘dress rehearsals’, testing literally thousands of different scenarios. During the event, our team of experts in the Technical Operations Center in Rio worked 24/7, diligently scrutinising everything flowing through the network. We collected and analyzed more data than ever – which was exactly what we had prepared for.

With a large increase in “digital noise” at this year’s Olympic Games it was imperative that we were able to cut through it, to identify genuinely suspicious behaviour.  This involved a combination of using the very latest complex-data analytics to look for patterns, flagging the right items for our team of experts to make a “human call” on, and then feeding all of it back into the mix, in real-time, to strengthen our learning and to continue to stay ahead.

Having the confidence that everything was secure, accurate and reliable allowed our other teams to get on with using the vast amounts of complex data being generated by the events themselves.  The Atos team, in conjunction with our partners, worked tirelessly to ensure that this information was delivered successfully, allowing the world to share in real time in the most connected way yet.

We expect that Pyeonchang 2018 and Tokyo 2020 will once again break records and go further.  And we’re already preparing.

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