The NATO team is the winner of the Cyber Defence Exercise Locked Shields 2018 that took place on April 23-26 in Tallinn, Estonia.

The international live-fire cyber defence exercise Locked Shields 2018 took place on April 23-26 in Tallinn, Estonia, and the figures behind this important competition are impressive.

A total of 22 Blue Teams participated in the Locked Shields 2018 exercise, more than 1,000 experts from nearly 30 countries have tested their cyber capabilities-

Yes, I forgot to tell you that this year the winner is the team from NATO composed of 30 cyber experts, followed by France and the Czech Republic.

“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.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) organizes the Locked Shields since 2010, the exercise aims to test the abilities of the team in responding to a major cyber attack.

The exercise sees a fictional country named Berylia targeted by massive and coordinated cyber attacks that hit its critical infrastructure, including Internet services provider, power grids, military airbase, telecommunication networks.

Locked Shields 2018 involved 4,000 virtualized systems and over 2,500 attacks that hit the target altogether.

The Blue Teams were tasked to preserve the operations of more than 150 complex IT systems per team, reporting incidents, executing strategic decisions and solving forensic, legal and media challenges.

“However, every single participating team deserves credit for handling the complex cyber challenges of Locked Shields. The exercise involved around 4000 virtualised systems and more than 2500 attacks altogether.” added Reintam. “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,” 

Locked Shields 2018

More photos of Locked Shields 2018 (credits to CCDCOE, photographer Arno Mikkor)

Once again, the exercise highlighted the importance of the information sharing when dealing cyber threats and the authority to make a decision and give guidelines, carefully evaluating the potential legal implications.

“In 2018 the exercise highlighted the growing need to enhance dialogue between technical experts, civil and military participants and decision-making levels.” reads the press release published by the CCDCOE.

“CCDCOE integrates 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.”

Cyber drills like the Locked Shields 2018 are very important occasions for tasting cyber defense abilities and processes in place to mitigate massive attacks against critical infrastructure.

Pierluigi Paganini

(Security Affairs – Locked Shields 2018, hacking)

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