NewsJune 28, 2017 @ 7:00 AM

Watson for Cyber Security in Play at Wimbledon

As a tennis fan, I look forward to the start of Wimbledon every year — an opportunity to watch the world’s best tennis players in action, displaying passion, stamina and poise under pressure. This is what makes great tennis. But what makes great cybersecurity?

IBM security analysts working on-site at the tournament possess many of these same qualities, which help them stay one step ahead of fraudsters and remain ready to fight cyberattacks. Only this year, our team of security analysts won’t have to act alone. They’ll have a new teammate in their court, Watson for Cyber Security, to help them react up to 60 times faster than manual threat investigations.

Watson Serves Up Security at Wimbledon

Watson for Cyber Security already made an appearance at the PGA Masters in April. This was a great testing ground for the cognitive technology that interprets millions of pieces of data and makes unique correlations between the research and current security events. Now applied on-site in the Wimbledon bunker, security analysts will be using Watson for Cyber Security to monitor real-time threats and ensure that any opportunistic attacks against the tournament are discovered and swiftly remediated.

The advent of the digital age and the prevalence of social media means that sports fans no longer have to wait to hear what’s going on during their favorite match. Online resources provide up-to-the-minute scores, attendee tweets, news commentary and more. With all these instant statistics available to consume, IBM works hard behind the scenes to ensure that cybersecurity is the last thing on most people’s minds.

Last year, I had the privilege of taking BBC reporter Gordon Corera behind the scenes at Wimbledon, showing him the best of IBM Security in action at one of the most highly viewed tennis tournaments in the world. Gordon’s feature, which aired on BBC News, highlighted how IBM experts defend against cyberattacks in a secret security bunker underneath London SW19.

Bringing the Power of Man and Machine Together

Last year’s tournament saw a 302 percent year-over-year increase in security incidents and attacks against the event’s official website. Even before the championships, in the week leading up to the first day of play, there was a 275 percent year-over-year increase in attacks.

Any outage as a result of a cybersecurity event could impact the value of the tournament’s brand and its status as the premier tennis event in the world. With over 70 million visits during the 2016 Championships, Wimbledon’s digital properties must always be easily accessible for the millions of fans who use them to check the latest scores, watch live video, view highlights and read articles.

Watson for Cyber Security is now being used at major sporting events — and by IBM clients around the world — to bring the power of man and machine together. Prioritizing the most critical threats and investigating them faster allows our team of specialists to focus on what matters most: the user experience.

Now that you know Wimbledon’s cybersecurity is in safe hands, don your whites, pour yourself a Pimm’s and enjoy the tennis!

To learn more, join in the #WhatMakesGreat twitter conversation.

Learn more about  Watson for Cyber Security

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Martin Borrett

IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO IBM Security Europe

Martin Borrett is an IBM Distinguished Engineer and CTO IBM Security Europe. He advises clients at the most senior level on policy, business, technical, and architectural issues associated with security. Martin leads IBM's Security Blueprint work and is co-author of the IBM Redbooks "Introducing the IBM Security Framework and IBM Security Blueprint to Realize Business-Driven Security" and "Understanding SOA Security." He is Chairman of the European IBM Security User Group community, and a member of the Royal Society's Cybersecurity Research Steering Group. He is also a Fellow of the British Computer Society and a Chartered Engineer (CEng) and member of the IET. Martin has a passion for sailing - having represented Great Britain - and is also a keen tennis player.