NATO wins the world’s largest live-fire cyber exercise

  • 23 Apr. 2018 - 26 Apr. 2018
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  • Last updated: 30 Apr. 2018 08:41

NATO has won the world’s largest live-fire cyber exercise, Locked Shields 2018. After an intense competition from 23 to 26 April, NATO’s “Blue team” of 30 cyber defenders − led by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency − took the top prize in Tallinn, Estonia. French and Czech teams placed second and third, respectively. In total more than 1,000 experts from nearly 30 nations participated this year.

“I could not be more proud of the success of our cyber-team that once again demonstrated the expertise of NATO’s technology agency. They are hard-working, dedicated and ready 24/7 to defend NATO networks,” said Kevin J. Scheid, General Manager of the NCI Agency.

“This year’s exercise was even more realistic and certainly tougher than ever before and we are incredibly proud of our NATO cyber defenders,” said Ian West, Cyber Security Chief at the NCI Agency. The drill challenged the participants to respond in countering high-intensity attacks on a fictitious country’s IT systems and critical infrastructure networks.

“Success in Locked Shields is not just about defending your own networks – it is also about collaborating closely with the other defending teams,” explained Ian West. The teams had to maintain complex IT systems while reporting incidents, managing crises and making strategic decisions, as well as solving digital forensics tasks, and dealing with other challenges. Altogether the exercise involved 4,000 virtualized systems and more than 2,500 attacks.

Cyber defence is part of NATO’s core task of collective defence. In July 2016, Allies recognised cyberspace as a domain of operations in which NATO must defend itself as effectively as it does in the air, on land and at sea. The NATO Communications and Information Agency acquires, deploys and defends communications systems for NATO’s political decision-makers and commands. The Agency is on the frontlines against cyber-attacks, monitoring thousands of them daily, diagnosing threats, and working closely with governments and industry to prevent future attacks.