Locked Shields, the world's largest and most complex international live-fire cyber-defence exercise, has just completed in Tallinn under the auspices of NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE), featuring 22 Blue Teams, including teams from NATO and the EU.
This year's exercise highlighted the growing need to enhance dialogue between technical experts and decision-makers. CCDCOE integrated the technical and strategic game, enabling participating nations to practice the entire chain of command in the event of a severe cyber-incident involving both civilian and military players. Considering the current cyber-threats that are of most concern, the exercise addressed the critical information infrastructure protection.
The NATO team won the overall competition with the French and Czech teams taking second and third place respectively.
“The winning team excelled in all categories of the exercise. It was the first time NATO participated with a team representing different NATO agencies,” said Aare Reintam, project manager of technical exercises at CCDCOE.
He added, “However, every single participating team deserves credit for handling the complex cyber-challenges of Locked Shields. The exercise involved around 4,000 virtualised systems and more than 2,500 attacks altogether. In addition to keeping up more than 150 complex IT systems per team, the Blue Teams had to be efficient in reporting incidents, executing strategic decisions and solving forensic, legal and media challenges. Protection of critical infrastructure is essential for ensuring the efficient operation of both military and civilian organisations, it is the foundation of our modern digital lifestyle,” added Reintam.
Merle Maigre, director of CCDCOE earlier issued a statement welcoming Portugal to the grouping as, “... another strong NATO Ally joining the Centre.
Then during opening of Australia's pop-up embassy in Estonia, Australia also announced it was joining CCDCOE as a member, and took part in Locked Shields as an observer nation.
“Accession of Australia expands the reach and cooperation of like-minded nations in cyber-defence beyond the Euro-Atlantic area, making our cyber-defence hub truly global. We are glad to welcome Australia becoming a member nation," commented Maigre.
NATO CCDCOE is a NATO-accredited cyber-defence hub focusing on research, training and exercises. The international military organisation based in Estonia is a community of of 20 nations currently providing a 360-degree look at cyber-defence.
Locked Shields 2018 is organised by CCDCOE in cooperation with the Estonian Defence Forces, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Swedish Defence University, the British Joint Army, the United States European Command, CERT.LV, National Security Research Institute of the Republic of Korea and Tallinn University of Technology. Industry partners in the exercise include Siemens AG, Ericsson, Bittium, Goodmill, Threod Systems, Cyber Test Systems, Clarified Security, Iptron, Bytelife, BHC Laboratory, openvpn.net, GuardTime and numerous others.