NATO cyber defence exercise focuses on Windows, SCADA systems

NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is this week hosting what is said to be the largest international technical cyber-defence exercise. The event takes place in Tallinn, Estonia.

The ‘Locked Shields' real-time network defence exercise will bring together over 400 cyber-security specialists and teams representing 16 nations as well as NATO's Computer Incident Response Capability.

“Locked Shields prepares computer emergency response specialist for the ever-changing cyber-security landscape. Uniquely, we use realistic technologies, networks and attack methods,” said Colonel Artur Suzik, director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. “To keep the exercise on par with real-world developments, new technologies and attack vectors are added every year,” Suzik added.

Last year's exercise included, for the first time, Android devices, IP cameras and VoIP attacks, while this year will focus on ICS/SCADA systems and Windows 8 and Windows 10.

“Locked Shields is a scenario-based exercise. All blue teams play the role of the rapid reaction teams of the fictional country of Berylia,” explained Suzik. He emphasised that the computer emergency response specialists (CERTs) are the training audience of the exercise, with media and legal injects being added to technical and forensic challenges. Locked Shields thus provides insight into how complex a modern cyber defence crisis can be, and what is required from nations in order to be able to cope with the threats.

Organised since 2010 by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Locked Shields 2015 is supported by the Government of Canada. The grant covers purchase of technical equipment for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence cyber lab and supporting services that allowed increasing the capacity of exercise.