Cyber War© Luca Locatelli
Organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, Locked Shields is a real-time network defence exercise that has grown in size since its first event in 2012 involving 300 people and 17 nations (NATO and non-NATO) this year. Running over two days it puts 12 defending teams from all over Europe against one attacking team for a unique training and cooperation opportunity.
Locked Shields is an annual real-time network defence exercise organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence together with its partners since 2012. Locked Shields has a game-based approach which means that no organisations play their real-life role and the scenario is fictional. This year’s scenario placed the teams in a fictional country of Berylia which industry fell under increasing cyber attacks.
The exercise is built up as a competitive game in which the defending teams are scored based on their performance. Although the defending teams are competing with each other, the exercise is set up in a way that it encourages the teams to share information and cooperate as much as possible.
The aim of the exercise is to train the teams of IT specialists to detect and mitigate large- scale cyber attacks and handle security incidents. Although the scenario of the exercise is fictitious and the events take place in a specially built environment, the attack and defence methods used are from the real life. By making the exercise as realistic as possible, the organisers are giving the defenders an opportunity to test their skills under real-life conditions.
NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is an International Military Organisation located in Tallinn, Estonia. It’s a research and training centre with an aim to enhance the capability, cooperation and information sharing among NATO, its member nations and partners in cyber defence by virtue of education, research and development, lessons learned and consultation.
The exercise has grown in size since its first event in 2012 involving 300 people and 17 nations (NATO and non-NATO) this year. “Locked Shields is, to my knowledge, the biggest exercise of its kind,” noted Colonel Artur Suzik, Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. “Biggest not in the sheer number of people participating but biggest in the number of nations taking part in organising and executing the exercise which makes it truly international and cooperative.” The exercise was organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence together with Estonian Information System’s Authority, Estonian Defence League’s Cyber Defence Unit, Estonian Defence Forces, Finnish Defence Forces and many others.
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