The international network defence exercise Locked Shields ended yesterday evening and the defending team from Poland has been titled the overall winner for this year. For Poland it was the second time to take part of Locked Shields and first time to become the winner of the challenge.
“Locked Shields 2014 was very challenging for the Polish team and this is definitely the best cyber-technical exercise we have attended,” said Tomasz Strycharek, Deputy Team Leader for the Polish team. “This exercise helped us practice our capabilities and try out the cooperation possibilities in a very realistic scenario so we really appreciate our opportunity to attended Locked Shields 2014 and we strongly believe that such exercise is the perfect environment for improving technical and organisational skills.”
Locked Shields has a game-based approach which means that no organisations play their real-life role and the scenario is fictional. This year’s scenario placed the teams in a fictional country of Berylia which industry fell under increasing cyber attacks. Day 1 started with low level hacktivist campaigns and led to espionage and sabotage attacks against the defenders’ networks by the end of day 2. In addition to technical defence the event includes a number of additional tasks such as legal assignments and forensics challenge which aim to make the exercise as lifelike as possible. The exercise is built up as a competitive game in which the defending teams are scored based on their performance. Although the defending teams are competing with each other, the exercise is set up in a way that it encourages the teams to share information and cooperate as much as possible.
The exercise has grown in size since its first event in 2012 involving 300 people and 17 nations (NATO and non-NATO) this year. “Locked Shields is, to my knowledge, the biggest exercise of its kind,” noted Colonel Artur Suzik, Director of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. “Biggest not in the sheer number of people participating but biggest in the number of nations taking part in organising and executing the exercise which makes it truly international and cooperative.” The exercise was organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence together with Estonian Information System’s Authority, Estonian Defence League’s Cyber Defence Unit, Estonian Defence Forces, Finnish Defence Forces and many others.
The 12 defending teams taking part this year were Estonia, Finland, NATO CIRC, Italy, Spain, Germany & the Netherlands, Turkey, Latvia & Czech Republic, Hungary, France, Poland, Austria & Lithuania. The teams were participating from their home countries; exercise control was located in Tallinn, Estonia.
NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is an International Military Organisation located in Tallinn, Estonia. It’s a research and training centre with an aim to enhance the capability, cooperation and information sharing among NATO, its member nations and partners in cyber defence by virtue of education, research and development, lessons learned and consultation.