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NATO cyberdefense exercise Cyber Coalition kicks off in Tallinn

Cyber Coalition 2022 got underway Monday. November 28, 2022.
Cyber Coalition 2022 got underway Monday. November 28, 2022. Source: NATO SHAPE

One of the largest such exercises in the world, NATO's annual Cyber Coalition began in Tallinn on Monday, bringing together some 1,000 participants from across dozens of allied and partner countries, the EU as well as the industry and academia. The five-day exercise is aimed at enhancing NATO allies' and partners' cyberdefense capabilities as well as improving cyber cooperation.

"Although we don't hear as much about it, there are ongoing cyber operations against Ukraine that began even before February 24," Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said according to a press release.

"Cyberattacks also occur against allied countries on a daily basis, although resistance to these attacks is by no means a given," he continued. "This is why allies need to run through a host of possible scenarios at the NATO level — to ensure that when asked about cyberattacks, we can continue to answer, 'Yes, there have been some, but thus far, they haven't had a significant impact.'"

"Allies are committed to protecting their critical infrastructure, building resilience and bolstering their cyberdefenses," said U.S. Navy Cmdr. Charles Elliott, director of this week's exercise. "We will continue raising our guard against such malicious cyber activities in the future and support each other to deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats. This includes considering possible collective counterattacks."

Cyber Coalition has been organized in Estonia since 2013. While based out of Foundation CR14 in Tallinn, other participants will be joining the exercise virtually from other capitals and locations as well.

This year's Cyber Coalition exercise, the 15th, includes participants from 26 allied countries, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland, as well as representatives of the EU, the private sector and academia; South Korea is likewise participating as an observer.

Participants will train this week to tackle real-life challenges, such as cyberattacks on power grids, programs and NATO and allied assets while in operations.

"It is a great honor and privilege for the CR14 cyber ranger team to support one of NATO's most important collective defense exercises by offering a cyber range with extensive capabilities — one that has the potential to strengthen the cyber capabilities and innovation of both Estonia and our Allies," said CR14 CEO Siim Alatalu.

Established by the Ministry of Defense last January based on more than 11 years of military-grade cyber range experience in cybersecurity training, exercising, testing, validation and experimentation, the CR14 Foundation is a government-owned and -operated entity which provides cybersecurity-related research and development for domestic and international as well as private and public sector partners.

Cyberdefense is a core task of NATO's collective defense. Allies committed at the Madrid summit this June to further their efforts to enhance their cyberdefense capabilities as well as their cooperation with the industry and other key stakeholders such as the EU.

Cyber Coalition 2022 concludes this Friday.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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