Locked Shields, the largest and most advanced international live-fire cyberdefense exercise in the world organized by the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCD COE), was won this year by NATO’s own team, followed by France and the Czech Republic.
“The winning team excelled in all categories of the exercise,” Aare Reintam, one of the organizers of the exercise, said in a press release on Friday, noting that this was the first time NATO participated in the exercise with a team of its own, which consisted of representatives of the alliance’s various agencies.
“Nevertheless, all teams that participated deserve recognition for fulfilling the tasks given in the exercise,” he continued. “The exercise encompassed approximately 4,000 virtual systems and more than 2,500 attacks. In addition, each team had to maintain more than 150 difficult IT systems, and blue teams had to report incidents, make strategic decisions and solve challenges concerning external communication, the legal field and the media. The protection of critical infrastructure is essential for ensuring the activity of both military and civil structures; this is the basis of our modern digital life.”
In Locked Shields 2018, the teams will be protecting the computer systems and information systems of an imaginary country that has come under attack. In addition to a large-scale cyberattack, a number of other developments undermining security will take place in the country under attack. The aim is to offer a real life-like picture of the scope of the impact that cyber incidents can have and how well thought-out comprehensive must be the measures aimed at solving them. This year’s scenario emphasized the growing need to enhance dialogue between technical experts and civil and military decision-makers.
The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Center of Excellence has been organizing the Locked Shields exercise since 2010.
The CCD COE is a NATO-accredited cyber defense hub focusing on research, training and exercises. The international military organization based in Estonia is a community of currently 20 nations providing a 360-degree look at cyber defense, with expertise in the areas of technology, strategy, operations and law. In addition to organizing Locked Shields, the CCD COE is also home of the Tallinn Manual 2.0, the most comprehensive guide on how international law applies to cyber operations.
Another highlight of the center is the International Conference on Cyber Conflict (CyCon) a unique event joining key experts and decision-makers of the global cyberdefense community in Tallinn every spring. The tenth anniversary event, CyCon X: Maximizing Effects, will take place from May 30-June 1. In partnership with the Munich Security Conference, the CCD COE will host the Cyber Security Summit in Tallinn on May 29, on the eve of CyCon.
The CCD COE is staffed and financed by its member nations, which currently include Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Australia, Norway and Japan have all recently announced that they are planning on joining the CCD COE.