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Olympic Games, teleworking and security

June 2024 by Anthony Etien, GlobalSign

With the Paris 2024 Olympic Games just a few months away, the party’s in full swing. Businesses are preparing for it too: according to a Yousign study in partnership with IPSOS, 20% of companies in the Paris region have decided to use digital solutions to facilitate remote working.

This will save time for sports fans, who will be able to follow sporting events more easily. But there is a danger lurking: the security of data and access linked to remote working. As we prepare for Paris, data security has become as crucial as the physical safety of athletes and attendees. However, the outlook is not rosy, especially as several thefts of computers containing sensitive data linked to the security of the French state have already been reported in recent months.

This begs the question: how well-protected is your data?

The Olympic Games go digital

The upcoming Paris 2024 Olympic Games promise to be a spectacle of athletic prowess and global unity. However, the grandeur of the Games come with a major challenge: data security. The event will rely heavily on digital infrastructure, from ticketing and accreditation to athlete tracking and media communications. This extensive network creates a vast attack surface for potential cyber threats.
The French authorities are well aware of these risks. Recent incidents, such as the theft of a municipal engineer’s computer containing sensitive security plans, highlight the vulnerability of physical devices. Cybersecurity agencies are actively working to strengthen defenses, conducting penetration tests and raising awareness of cyberthreats among all stakeholders.

The risk of phishing attacks is also significant. Participants and enthusiastic athletes can be targeted by emails or messages designed to steal login credentials or personal information.
But what about companies? Government guidelines for the Ile de France region are encouraging businesses to switch to teleworking during the Olympic Games, but are you sure the access to your data is sufficiently protected?

Remote working during the Olympics, yes, but data protection comes first

These games are not just about fun, but also about work and productivity for companies. In order to prepare for them, and to enable them to amortize the costs that could arise from over-use of public transport, and increased traffic that could have your staff running late to work, the Ile de France region and the French Ministry of Transport unveiled in January 2024, an advertising campaign encouraging businesses to allow their employees to work remotely during the Games.
The explosion in remote work has undeniably reshaped the professional landscape, offering countless benefits such as flexibility and a better work-life balance. However, this move towards distributed teams also poses new security challenges.

With employees accessing sensitive data and applications from personal devices and potentially unsecured networks, companies need robust strategies to bolster their defenses.
Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) is a powerful tool in this context. PKI acts as a digital trust framework, using digital certificates and encryption to verify the identity of users and devices attempting to access corporate resources.

In addition, PKI-based digital signatures can validate the authenticity and integrity of documents exchanged remotely, preventing their falsification and ensuring that only authorized persons can access them.
While PKI is not a silver bullet, it is a crucial layer of security in the remote working landscape, offering peace of mind to both businesses and remote employees.

PKI to secure your data

This two-factor approach goes further than simple passwords, making it much more difficult for unauthorized people to infiltrate a system. By implementing PKI, companies can guarantee secure communication between remote workers and company servers, protecting sensitive information in transit.

PKI issues digital certificates, essentially digital identity cards, for users and devices. These certificates contain unique identifiers and are verified by a trusted third party called a Certification Authority (CA). When a remote worker attempts to access company resources, his or her device or login credentials present this certificate. The corporate system then verifies the validity of the certificate with the CA, ensuring that the user or device is who it claims to be.

PKI also uses a sophisticated encryption system based on asymmetric cryptography. This system uses two mathematically related keys: a public key and a private key. The public key is widely distributed, like a company directory, while the private key is kept confidential by the user or device. When sensitive data is transmitted remotely, such as e-mails containing confidential information, it is encrypted using the recipient’s public key. This encryption scrambles the data into an unreadable format. Only the corresponding private key can decrypt the message, locking access to authorized users. So even if data is intercepted on an unsecured network, it remains unintelligible to anyone who doesn’t possess the private key.


Although remote working is not directly related to the physical organization of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games, it does have implications for data security and operational readiness in France. By addressing the cybersecurity challenges associated with remote working and implementing appropriate safeguards, organizations here can mitigate risks and ensure data integrity, confidentiality and availability throughout the event. Let the games begin !

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