In a live-fire cyber-defence exercise comprising 3,000 virtual systems and 2,500 attacks, the winner of this year's Locked Shields exercise is the Czech Republic.
The first Locked Shields was held in 2010. It was won by the NATO Blue Team in 2015 and Slovakia in 2016.
This year, the Czech Republic beat Estonia and the NCIRC team from Nato into second and third place respectively. In a press statement, the organisers, the Estonia-based Nato Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) reported that the Czech Republic defensive team also won a special prize for the scenario inject.
Meanwhile, the NCIRC team scored the highest in the legal game of the exercise, Germany's team won the forensic challenges and the team from the United Kingdom achieved the highest scores in handling the strategic communication challenges.
Aare Reintam, technical exercise director at Nato CCDCOE, said: , “The winning team demonstrated that good tactics and stable performance in all categories can lead to best overall scores in the end. The experts of the Czech team performed also very well in the strategic track that was a new addition this year.”
This year the scenario entailed the Blue Teams maintaining the services and networks of a military air base in a fictional country facing severe attacks on its electric power grid, drones, military command and control systems and other operational infrastructure.
Reintam said, “The exercise was particularly challenging for all participants this year due to the increased scope and size of specialised systems involved. The teams had to protect large-scale SCADA systems controlling the power grid, military AirC2 system, a military surveillance drone and the ground station controlling the drone and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLCs) under intense pressure.”
There are also several specialised IT systems introduced to the exercise this year to reflect the current threat landscape. In a previous statement, Thomas Svensson – who is a CSO at Atsec Information Security, deputy head of the White Team and a member of the core planning team of the exercise – commented, “This year we included more specialised systems to offer the teams new challenges. To be successful in Locked Shields the competing teams need to master both technical and soft skills, meaning they must be able to handle media and legal requests while solving cyber-incidents.”
Locked Shields is organised by the Nato CCDCEO in cooperation with the Estonian Defence Forces, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Swedish Defence University, the British Army, the United States European Command, Air Operations COE and Tallinn University of Technology.
Industry partners in the exercise include Siemens AG, Threod Systems, Cyber Test Systems, Clarified Security, Iptron, Bytelife, BHC Laboratory, openvpn.net and GuardTime.