NATO team wins cyber defense exercise Locked Shields 2015 ahead of Estonia


The team from NATO Computer Incident Response Capability (NCIRC) won the largest international live-fire cyber defense exercise Locked Shields 2015, which concluded in Tallinn on Friday. Estonia and Poland took second and third place respectively.

NCIRC also took home the special scenario prize, while the team from Czech Republic came out on top of both the legal and media challenges.

Locked Shields 2015 was the fifth annual cyber defense exercise organized by the Tallinn-based NATO cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE). The 2015 edition involved more than 400 people and 16 national teams, in addition to NCIRC.

The training audience of the exercise were Blue Teams: computer emergency response specialists, playing the role of the rapid reaction teams of the fictional country of Berylia. As part of the exercise, the defensive teams had to protect their networks against over a thousand attacks of 15 different types.

The largest of its kind globally, Locked Shields is unique in using realistic technologies, networks and attack methods. New attack vectors in 2015 included ICS/SCADA systems and Windows 8 and 10 operating systems, as well as an element of active defense. In addition to technical and forensic tasks, the exercise also included media and legal challenges. All this is aimed to provide insight into how complex a modern cyber defense crisis can be, and what is required from nations in order to be able to cope with these threats.

“The key to winning Locked Shields is keeping your networks within the exercise up and running,” explained computer security expert Jaan Priisalu, one of the exercise architects and a senior fellow at CCDCOE. No one would like to live in a world where computer security always takes priority over usability, he added.

The Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence is a NATO-accredited knowledge hub, think tank and training facility, focused on interdisciplinary applied research and development as well as consultations, education and exercises in the field of cyber security. The Center's mission is to enhance capability, cooperation and information-sharing between NATO, Allies and partners in cyber defense.

Editor: M. Oll

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