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23 April 2015

400 Participate in Largest Live-Fire Cyber Defence Exercise Locked Shields 2015

The active phase of the largest international technical cyber defence exercise Locked Shields 2015 came to end today. More than 400 people and defensive teams from 16 nations as well as NATO Computer Incident Response Capability were involved.

"Locked Shield is biggest and most advanced live fire cyber defence exercise that we know of. The defensive teams are really learning and we see an incredible level of activity," said computer security specialist Jani Kenttälä from the situational awareness team at the exercise. "A lot of nations and institutions are looking forward to reproducing the success of Locked Shields. It will be a challenge - the knowledge you need for pull off an exercise this big and dynamic is enormous," Kenttälä added.

"The buzz of control room of Locked Shields 2015 through the week has been a true testament to the community that has grown around Locked Shields. The exercise relies heavily on the hard work of my staff and the dedication of the large group of experts from across Europe and NATO," emphasized Colonel Artur Suzik, the director of NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, the international military organization in charge of the exercise.

All in all, the defensive teams had to protect their network against over a thousand attacks. Coincidentally, over a thousand threat reports were processed and these consisted of 15 different malicious activity types.

Locked Shields is an annual real-time network defence exercise, organised since 2010 by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. The training audience of the exercise is the national Blue Teams: computer emergency response specialists, playing the role of the rapid reaction teams of the fictional country of Berylia. 16 nations and NATO Computer Incident Response Capability participated as the defensive teams this year.

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 defence. In addition to technical and forensic challenges, Locked Shields also includes media and legal injects. It thus provides insight into how complex a modern cyber defence crisis can be, and what is required from nations in order to be able to cope with these threats.

Locked Shields 2015 was supported by the Government of Canada. The grant covers purchase of technical equipment for the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence cyber lab and supporting services that allowed increasing the capacity of the annual Locked Shields cyber defence exercise.

The Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre 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 Centre's mission is to enhance capability, cooperation and information-sharing between NATO, Allies and partners in cyber defence.

Read more about Locked Shields 2015 at https://ccdcoe.org/locked-shields-2015.html. Multimedia available through NATO Channel TV and at http://pildid.mil.ee/NATO-k-berkaitse-ppus-Locked-Shields-2015 (photo credit Estonian Defence Forces).