Danish Impact Report

Client impact

United Nations – preventing cyberattacks at the COP25 conference

  • At the UN’s twenty-fifth climate change conference (COP25) in Madrid, international political leaders discussed the next crucial steps in slowing down global warming. Deloitte was present to keep looming cyber criminals in check.

In December 2019, several of the world’s most influential political figures were gathered at COP25 in Madrid to discuss and advance global action to tackle climate change.

The conference lasted from 2 December to 13 December 2019 and was designed to take the next crucial steps in the UN climate change process. As COP25 concluded, crucial climate action had been taken forward in several areas including forests and agriculture, indigenous people, cities, oceans and gender.

Concurrently with the increased focus on climate change and sustainability, the UN’s climate change conferences have grown exponentially in size over the past two decades. Today, the conferences are among the largest and most important international meetings in the world with an ever-increasing number of officials from governments and vast numbers of representatives from corporations, civil society, and global news media.

As the climate change conferences have grown in size and prominence, so has the need for creating a secure digital conference infrastructure. With more than 25,000 participants and even more connected digital devices, it is an extremely complex task to not only build a secure cyber environment, but even more so to constantly monitor the network and identify potential threats. Therefore, to help create a resilient and secure cybersecurity environment at COP25, the UN decided to partner up with Deloitte.

"Deloitte's cybersecurity team was key to ensuring safe IT operations during the COP25 conference. Under adverse circumstances including a relocation of the conference they were able to conduct an audit of the secretariat's assets and deploy a full-fledged cybersecurity operations centre in limited time to protect the conference network and the negotiation processes. The UNFCCC Secretariat is grateful for the outstanding professionalism, resourcefulness and efficiency shown by Deloitte during COP25."

Information Systems Officer, UNFCCC Secretariat

A global team of Deloitte professionals, led by Danish Deloitte cyber security experts, were quickly deployed to Madrid to set up the extensive IT security infrastructure from A to Z, including security architecture, 24/7 network surveillance, threat identification and more. For several weeks, the Deloitte team lived in Madrid to thoroughly test every aspect of the newly established IT environment that the UN team had built from scratch.

Due to the high attendance by heads of states and top political figures, cybersecurity is given top priority at the UN’s climate conferences, and for good reason. During the conference period, cyber-attackers are constantly looming in the dark, trying to exploit any kind of weakness in the network, allowing them to potentially access confidential documents, state secrets or leverage over political figures.

Fortunately, and as a result of the extensive cybersecurity efforts conducted by the Deloitte team before and during the conference, only an insignificant and unharmful number of IT disturbances happened and were quickly solved by the Deloitte team as they occurred.

From a cybersecurity point of view, there is no doubt that some of the world’s top political figures and other conference participants were in good hands, and this enabled them to fully focus on the critical task at hand: unifying the world in the fight against climate change.

Share this insight

Currently reading

United Nations – preventing cyberattacks at the COP25 conference

Read more Impact stories

Related themes