Renewed: 02.12.2016, 15:20

02 December 2016 15:18

Largest NATO cyber defence exercise concludes in Estonia

Largest NATO cyber defence exercise concludes in Estonia Largest NATO cyber defence exercise concludes in Estonia

Today largest NATO multinational cyber defence exercise, “Cyber Coalition 2016” concluded at the Alliance’s Cyber Range in Tartu, Estonia and at locations in participating nations.

The three-day training event tested the NATO’s ability to defend its networks from the various challenges that exist when operating in the contested cyber domain.

“This is the only NATO cyber defence exercise which specifically engages national agencies, military and civilian authorities in response to cyber incidents,” Exercise Director Commander, U.S. Navy Rob Hoar said. “This year the NATO Cyber Range was used to simulate national SCADA systems that have been compromised. The nations must work together to identify the threat and mitigate its impact before it impacts their national systems. We also focused on non-traditional mobile devices that may be prone to compromise, like smart watches and televisions.”

The exercise involved over 700 technical, legal, government and cyber experts operating from dozens of locations from across the Alliance and partner nations. The aim of the exercise is to test the rapid sharing of information about cyber incidents. The drill also tests the ability of the participating nations to coordinate a defence against a series of targeted cyber incidents involving a NATO mission network. “There is no one member of NATO that is as strong on its own as we are all together. The exercise allows nations to practice their procedures and observe best practices from other NATO members and select Partner Nations in order to improve their own capabilities,” Commander Hoar added.

This is the fourth time Estonia hosts the exercise. The aim is to drill procedures and rapid coordination between national experts in their ability to handle a series of scenarios that increase in complexity during the exercise. Using a controlled virtual environment all participants are presented with storylines which involve specific technical challenges such as smart watches and TVs or the hacking of specific networks.

Representatives from seven Partner Nations and European Union either participated or observed, including Austria, Georgia Ireland, Japan, Finland, Sweden, and Switzerland. This year Algeria took part for the first time. Cyber defence staff from the European Union and representatives from academia and industry were also invited.

At this year´s Warsaw NATO Summit, Allies recognized cyberspace as a domain of operations in which Alliance must defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land, and at sea. In the previous summit Allies also agreed that cyber-attacks can reach a threshold that threatens national and Euro-Atlantic prosperity, security, and stability. Their impact could be as harmful to modern societies as a conventional attack.

“Cyber Coalition 2016” was the ninth such annual exercise.

Headquarters of the Estonian Defence Forces, 717 1900, mil[at], Juhkentali 58, EE15007, Tallinn, Estonia.

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