The largest cybersecurity drill will be held this week in Estonia, a country located in the Baltic region of Northern Europe. The National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence organized the activity.
More than 400 computer experts and teams from 16 countries, as well as the NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC), will participate in the cybersecurity drill dubbed as Locked Shields 2015.
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Colonel Artur Suzik, director, NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence said, “Locked Shields prepares computer emergency response specialist for the ever-changing cyber security landscape. Uniquely, we use realistic technologies, networks, and attack methods.”
New technologies added to the cybersecurity drill annually
Col. Suzik added that new technologies and attack vectors were added every year to keep the cybersecurity drill at pace with real-world developments. Last year, Android devices, IP cameras, and VoiP attacks were added to the cybersecurity exercises.
The Locked Shields 2015 included ICS/SCADA Systems, Windows 8 and 10 operating systems and an element of active defense, according to Col. Suzik. He explained that the cybersecurity drills is scenario-based.
The NATO Cyber Defense Center of Excellence started the annual cybersecurity drill in 2010. The Government of Canada provided the financial grant for Locked Shield 2015. The grant will be used to purchase technical equipment for the cyber lab and supporting services to increase the capacity of the cybersecurity drill.
President Barack Obama and other world leaders decided to boost partnerships in cyber defense capabilities during a NATO summit in September. The world leaders also warned that a cyberattack against NATO members could trigger a collective defense response similar to a military aggression.
NATO advances efforts against cyber threats
NATO is advancing its efforts to address the wide range of cyberattacks targeting its networks on a daily basis. According to the organization, protecting its communications and information systems (CIS) is an urgent task given the growing sophistication of cyberattacks.
According to NATO, its cybersecurity program highlights the following:
- Cyber defense is part of NATO’s core task of collective defense.
NATO approved its first cyber defense policy in January 2008 following the cyberattacks against Estonia.
- NATO is responsible for the protection of its communication networks.
- Nations are and remain responsible for the security of their communications networks that need to be compatible with NATO’s and with each other.
- Allies are committed to enhancing information sharing and mutual assistance in preventing, mitigating and recovering from cyberattacks.
- NATO is intensifying its cooperation with industry.
- NATO enhances its capabilities for cyber education, training and exercises.
NATO Tornado military drills in Estonia
Separately, the U.S. Army and Estonia soldiers are part of the NATO Tornado military drills. According to RT News, NATO will use a laser training system to simulate actual battles during the military drills, which is the largest in the history of Estonia.
Almost 2,000 Estonian soldiers and divisions of U.S. paratroopers will start the five-day Tornado drills, which will demonstrate the level of their readiness for larger Siil [Hedgehog] military exercises,” according to General Staff of Estonia’s Defense Forces. In May, 13,000 soldiers will participate in the Siil war games.
According to the report, NATO will use different versions of the Multiple Integrated Laser Engagement System (MILES) during the Tornado drills.
The presence of the U.S. soldiers in the Baltic region is part of the Atlantic Resolve, which demonstrates the commitment of the United States to NATO members across Eastern Europe. The U.S. is committed to international training and security cooperation.
On Thursday, Russia’s General Staff, Lieutenant General Andrey Kartapolov noted that the operational combat training activities of NATO near the borders of the country increased by 80% last year. According to him, the military drills have a “clear anti-Russian orientation.”