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Cybersecurity Awareness 6 – Fortressing the Beautiful Game: 10 Tips to Avoid Cyberattacks on Critical Services During AFCON 2024


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As the electrifying anticipation for AFCON 2024 in Ivory Coast reaches fever pitch, millions worldwide gear up to witness footballing artistry unfold. But beyond the dazzling footwork and passionate cheers lies a critical undercurrent: the vital infrastructure that keeps the tournament running smoothly.

From transportation networks and power grids to ticketing systems and live streams, these critical services are potential targets for cyberattacks. However, fear not, digital defenders! By recognizing the threats and adopting proactive measures, we can create a resilient digital ecosystem that safeguards the beautiful game for everyone. So, let’s arm ourselves with 10 essential tips to keep the cyber demons at bay:

1. Multi-layered Defense: Implement a layered cybersecurity approach, incorporating firewalls, intrusion detection systems, and endpoint protection software to create a comprehensive shield against cyberattacks. Remember, a single layer of defense is like a flimsy wall; a multi-layered approach builds a digital fortress.

2. Patch Priority: Prioritize timely patching of vulnerabilities in critical systems and software. Hackers often exploit outdated software to gain access, so staying updated minimizes the attack surface. Think of patches as digital vaccines, keeping your systems immune to cyber threats.

3. Access Control Champions: Implement strict access controls to critical infrastructure and data. Limit access to authorized personnel and employ strong authentication protocols to prevent unauthorized access. Remember, access control is like a vigilant gatekeeper, ensuring only legitimate players enter the digital playing field.

4. Backup Barricades: Regularly back up crucial data to secure, offline locations. This ensures critical information can be restored in case of a cyberattack, minimizing disruption and data loss. Remember, backups are your digital lifeboats, providing a safe harbor during cyber storms.

5. Security Awareness Squad: Cultivate a culture of cybersecurity awareness among all personnel involved in critical services. Train employees on identifying phishing scams, reporting suspicious activity, and practicing safe online behavior. Remember, a well-informed team is a strong defense, with everyone playing their part in cyber hygiene.

6. Incident Response Readiness: Develop a comprehensive incident response plan to effectively manage cyberattacks. This plan should outline communication protocols, response procedures, and recovery strategies to minimize damage and restore normalcy. Remember, preparation is key; a well-rehearsed response plan turns chaos into controlled action.

7. Threat Intelligence Vigilance: Stay informed about the latest cyberthreat trends and tactics targeting major sporting events. Collaborate with cybersecurity experts and government agencies to share intelligence and proactively mitigate risks. Remember, knowledge is power; staying ahead of the cyber curve keeps you one step ahead of the attackers.

8. International Collaboration: Foster international collaboration among law enforcement agencies and cybersecurity experts to combat cybercrime and track down attackers. Sharing intelligence and expertise across borders strengthens the global defense against cyber threats. Remember, teamwork makes the cyber-dream work; collaboration is key to building a secure digital world.

9. Transparency and Trust: Maintain open communication and transparency with the public in case of a cyberattack. Provide timely updates on the situation, mitigation efforts, and potential impacts. Remember, transparency builds trust, and trust is crucial for maintaining stability and public confidence during critical events.

10. Continuous Improvement: Continuously assess and improve cybersecurity measures based on evolving threats and lessons learned. Regularly conduct simulations and test incident response plans to identify vulnerabilities and refine your defenses. Remember, cybersecurity is a marathon, not a sprint; continuous improvement keeps you ahead of the ever-changing digital landscape.


AFCON 2024 promises to be a thrilling celebration of football, but securing the digital infrastructure underpinning the event requires collective vigilance and proactive measures. By adopting these 10 essential tips, we can create a resilient and secure digital ecosystem that safeguards the beautiful game for everyone. Remember, cybersecurity is not just about technology; it’s about protecting the passion, excitement, and shared experience that AFCON 2024 represents. Let’s raise the banner of digital resilience, cheer for fair play both on and off the field, and ensure that the only goals scored during the tournament are on the pitch, not in the digital realm.

So, let’s work together to build a secure and vibrant digital platform for AFCON 2024, where the beautiful game shines brightly, untarnished by the shadows of cyberattacks. May the best team (and the most cyber-aware nations) win!

Ouaissou DEMBELE
Ouaissou DEMBELEhttps://cybercory.com
Ouaissou DEMBELE is an accomplished cybersecurity professional and the Editor-In-Chief of cybercory.com. He has over 10 years of experience in the field, with a particular focus on Ethical Hacking, Data Security & GRC. Currently, Ouaissou serves as the Co-founder & Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Saintynet, a leading provider of IT solutions and services. In this role, he is responsible for managing the company's cybersecurity strategy, ensuring compliance with relevant regulations, and identifying and mitigating potential threats, as well as helping the company customers for better & long term cybersecurity strategy. Prior to his work at Saintynet, Ouaissou held various positions in the IT industry, including as a consultant. He has also served as a speaker and trainer at industry conferences and events, sharing his expertise and insights with fellow professionals. Ouaissou holds a number of certifications in cybersecurity, including the Cisco Certified Network Professional - Security (CCNP Security) and the Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH), ITIL. With his wealth of experience and knowledge, Ouaissou is a valuable member of the cybercory team and a trusted advisor to clients seeking to enhance their cybersecurity posture.


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