NEWS
10/10/2011 12:40 EDT | Updated 12/10/2011 05:12 EST

London 2012 organizers say technology in place can withstand danger of cyber attacks

LONDON - The technology systems in place for next year's London Olympics can withstand the danger of cyber attacks and have held up well in recent test events for the Games, organizers said Monday.

The Technology Operations centre, which will monitor security, power, telecommunications and the results systems that will send Olympic data to fans and the world's media, was officially opened Monday in Canary Wharf, southeast London.

"Security is a big concern of the Games and cyber security is a major part of that. We are obviously very attentive of the risks involved," said Paul Deighton, chief executive of London organizing committee LOCOG.

"The key steps we've taken to protect these systems are really to make sure we have an independent Olympic-dedicated network which gives us an insulation from the rest of the world that makes it much harder to penetrate."

A quarter of LOCOG's overall budget of two billion pounds (US$3.1 billion) has been spent on technology, with organizers expecting to process 30 per cent more results data than at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Working out of the centre, a 450-strong team of experts have been trying out the technology in a series of Olympics test events this year.

"It went very well," Deighton said. "It was a good way to break in the kind of co-ordination and monitoring we'll need.

"All the testing we've put in place on technology ahead of the games — that's one of the prime purposes of these test events — gives me a lot of confidence that the technology would be capable of withstanding any problems."

Deighton said he is confident there will be no repeat of the technological problems that occurred at the 1996 Atlanta Games.

Since 2002, Atos — a Europe-based information technology firm — has been the lead technological company for the summer and winter games.

"Every part of the system has a contingency arrangement," Deighton said. "Many of the tests we have exercised on have worked on the basis that, if we do that instead of that, how do we recover and how does the show go on?

"If Usain Bolt breaks the world record, the timing system needs to work. We don't want to ask him to do it again."