Cyberdefense exercise in Tallinn to see over 3,000 participants

Cyberdefense exercise Locked Shields 2018.
Cyberdefense exercise Locked Shields 2018. Source: Siim Lõvi/ERR

The NATO Cooperative Cyberdefense Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) will hold its Locked Shields 2023 cyberdefense exercise April 18-21. The world's largest such event will see 3,000 participants from all over the world.

The cyberdefense exercise lets participants defend real computer networks in real time and simulate how to make tactical and strategic decisions in a time-critical situation.

"No other cyberdefense exercise offers such a multifaceted and detailed experience as Locked Shields. Twenty-four teams from all over the world will have to keep critical infrastructure and IT systems operational. Some 500 organizers have been working on preparations over seven months and created over 5,500 virtual systems for the purpose. The teams will get the chance to demonstrate how well they can keep systems going in real-life situations and under considerable time pressure," said Mart Noorma, director of the CCDCOE.

He added that next to technical aspects, strategic play and cooperation plays a vital role. "No cyber crisis is solved by the technical professionals alone. Different institutions' decision-makers and experts are also locked in a battle of wills with the attackers. That is why at Locked Shields, we also concentrate on strategic games, legal aspects and crisis communication. In order to successfully solve a crisis, cooperation must be functional between teams in charge of different functions, as well as between the institutions involved as a broad-based cyberattack can quickly escalate into a major security crisis," Noorma remarked.

The exercise, organized by the CCDCOE in Tallinn since 2010, will see teams made up of CCDCOE members or key partners' representatives from 38 different countries. The teams are tasked with defending virtual state information systems and critical infrastructure from cyberattacks, take decisions in a crisis situation and ensure effects analysis.

The task of the CCDCOE is to support its member nations and NATO with unique interdisciplinary expertise in the field of cyberdefense research, training and exercises covering the focus areas of technology, strategy, operations and law.


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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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