Estonia holds NATO Parliamentary Assembly cyber crisis exercise

NATO logo.
NATO logo. Source: Wikimedia Commons

Estonia led a strategic cyber exercise for members of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Brussels on Wednesday, aimed at enacting a realistic cyber incident with a view to finding possible solutions.

"One of the aims of Estonia's cyber diplomacy is to increase, together with our allies and partners, the know-how on cyberspace and related threats," said Heli Tiirmaa-Klaar, Estonian Ambassador at Large for Cyber Security, according to a foreign ministry press release.

"Cyber incidents are occurring more and more often and undermining stability, which is why it is particularly crucial to know how to identify these threats and give a proportional response," she continued.

Matej Tonin, Slovenian MP and Chair of the Sub-Committee on Technology Trends and Security of Science and Technology Committee on the NATO assembly, who participated in the exercise, shared his impressions: "Parliamentarians have deep experience in managing traditional security crises. Now that cyberspace has become a theatre of competition and conflict, we must understand how to react to cyber crises, too. This cyber exercise has been extremely useful in sharpening our minds."

The exercise was organised by the Foreign Ministry's Cyber Diplomacy Department in cooperation with Estonia's permanent representations to the EU and NATO, and conducted by Estonian company CybExer Technologies.

Merle Maigre, Head of Governmental Relations at CybExer Technologies, said it was important to provide strategic level decision-makers with regular exercises on solving major cyber crises, highlighting the importance for them of becoming security engineers, as well as seeing, understanding, and communicating the big picture, without getting bogged down in small technical pieces.

The cyber exercise was held as part of the annual Brussels meeting of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, which is nearly 70 years old, on 17-19 February.

The assembly, headquartered in Brussels, has 29 member states just as its parent organization does, plus 16 associated members and eight states which have the status of a parliamentary observer on all its activities.

Annual sessions attended by a total of 266 voting members are held twice a year.

Estonia is home to NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE).

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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