France Bracing for Cyberattacks During Summer Olympics

The Summer Olympics and tensions over the war in Ukraine are likely to make Paris a tempting target for a variety of hacking attempts, including from adversarial countries, France’s top cybersecurity official said on Monday.

Vincent Strubel, the head of France’s cybersecurity agency, known as ANSSI, said in an interview that the Olympics faced threats from adversarial countries, criminals wielding ransomware and Russian-aligned “hacktivists” who use their computer skills to further their political messages.

French officials, including Mr. Strubel, are in Washington this week for consultations with cybersecurity officials. The Paris Olympics will run from July 26 to Aug. 11.

The opening ceremony of the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, was marred by a cyberattack that caused internet disruptions. Security companies quickly blamed Russia, and the Fancy Bear hacking group tied to Moscow’s intelligence services, for that attack.

Mr. Strubel said the Paris opening ceremony could also be a target of a cyberattack by a state actor. He did not name a country, but President Emmanuel Macron of France said he had “no doubt whatsoever” that Russia would try to target the Paris Olympics. He did not provide any details.

While Russian athletes will participate in Paris, they will not compete under the flag of their country. Russia is banned from the Olympics for its illegal annexation of Ukrainian territory.

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