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Sport subjected to the same type of cyber attacks – Lord Sebastian Coe

Building strong relationships and forming key partnerships with stakeholders is the key to managing cyber security risks according to Lord Sebastian Coe, who was giving a keynote talk about Cyber, Risk & Resilence in Sport & Business during the final day of Infosecurity Europe 2017. Lord Coe stated that the world of sport is now “subjected to the same type of cyber attacks that other organisations have been dealing with for some time”.

The IAAF chairman spoke about the obstacles he had to overcome in the lead up to the 2012 Summer Olympics as well as defending the IAAF’s “proactive” response in handling a data breach earlier this year. However, he did say an attack to organisations like the IAAF were “inevitable”.

The attack was orchestrated by Fancy Bear/APT28 hackers, a Russian hacking collective which gained access to confidential athlete medical data. The breach was seen as Russian retaliation to the IAAF decision to ban Russian athletes from the Rio Olympics, Paralympics and the upcoming World Championships taking place in London this summer.

“You have to be permanently vigilant”, Lord Coe told the audience at Infosecurity Europe. “If you are an interesting organisation and you are doing interesting things” you will always be seen as a target by cyber security hackers.

“It’s about making sure you understand attribution, the tools being used, the intent and the theatre that this information is going to be decimated”.

Managing the risk and security elements during the 2012 Olympics and the upcoming World Championships were difficult but Coe said the key to success was about understanding the relationships and partnerships that are on both sides of the public and private sectors. “The relationships we formed as you can imagine both in the public and private sectors allowed us to remedy the situations.

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