London Takes Gold in CyberSecurity

August 15, 2012

Maybe no news really is good news. I realize a lead that says ‘Nothing Happened’ isn’t going to excite a lot of people, but when the entire world is watching and almost expecting a significant cyberattack, the fact that the cybersecurity team for the London Olympics left them all wondering why an attack never materialized isn’t just good news -  it’s big news. The Games, dubbed the largest social media event of all time and the most technologically-dependent Olympiad in history, went off without a hitch. So how in the age of sophisticated threats and non-stop attacks were they able to accomplish this? Largely by being proactive through the use of predictive security measures which allowed them to identify and prioritize critical functionality.

For those who may be of the opinion that perhaps this was more a case of there not being a significant attack to deal with, let’s take a moment and review the primary motivations for cyberattacks. There are two basic categories that generally define the reasoning behind an attack: the potential for monetary gain or political motivation. Now we can argue that the Olympics may not represent a large payout in terms of dollars for a would-be hacker, but there is no denying that the Olympic stage would be the number one target for a group trying to make a political statement.

Understanding the motivation of hackers and what they would need to accomplish in order to achieve their objectives is at the heart of predictive security. What I think the team in London understood, and how we need everyone to begin thinking, is that while attacks may be inevitable, the compromise of critical data and functionality doesn’t need to be. By aligning your resources to combat attacks on your most critical assets, you can avoid costly data loss and interruptions to vital services.

So what big attacks did the London Games face and ultimately thwart? We’ll likely never know the answer to this question as this type of information is normally kept quiet. However, what we do know is that London just completed what some are already calling the most successful Games in history and this was made possible, in no small measure, to the work of the cybersecurity teams. So while no world records were broken and no medals were awarded for this feat, their performance may have been one of the more impressive of the Games.

When you make your living in the world of security, the phrase ‘Nothing Happened’ can be big news.

Mark Hatton, President, CEO


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