EVE and ADAM: Situation Awareness Tools for NATO CCDCOE Cyber Exercises

Authors, among them CCDCOE Technology Branch Researcher Mauno Pihelgas, present a new situation awareness visualisation tool, the Events Visualisation Environment (EVE), and its internal events aggregator module, the Advanced Data Aggregation Module (ADAM), which have been successfully used during the most recent cyber exercises (i.e., Locked Shields and Crossed Swords) organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE).

The functional requirements for EVE and ADAM were based on the unique cyber exercise needs for analysis and game development, and were finalised after we had completed a state-of-the-art review to look for suitable tools that could meet our requirements. The main purpose of EVE is to visualise security alerts on any given network map. ADAM, the supporting events aggregation module, processes, combines and filters incoming notifications from various types of sensors, and makes them ready to be visualised by EVE. EVE offers an intuitive and real-time visualisation that is easily understandable at first glance by both technical and non-technical staff. It also allows for recording and playback, and considers attack types, game phases, attack sources, and targets.  The information required by EVE is obtained from different sensors operating on the network. EVE allows for a very simplified communication channel with them, based on JSON formatted messages sent over an HTTP POST request.

The tools have provided an enhanced situation awareness experience over previous cyber exercises organised by NATO CCDCOE, and can be used in other exercises or, more generally, in real-life, production-ready environments. EVE (with ADAM included) is published as an open source tool, which is freely available on the GitHub page of the NATO CCDCOE.

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