Cyber Defence Exercise Focuses on Vulnerability Testing

Crossed Swords cyber defence exercise, organized by the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, focused on detecting weaknesses and vulnerabilities in IT systems. These skills are essential in protecting computer networks.

“The exercise is based on a responsive cyber defence scenario. The participants’ tasks include practising evidence-gathering and information analysis for technical attribution, a fundamental issue in solving large scale cyber incidents,” explained exercise architect Dr Rain Ottis, Associate Professor of cyber security at Tallinn University of Technology and Ambassador of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence. “They identify the origins of malicious activities, stop them and evaluate different tactics in fast-paced operations.”

“To protect, you must be up-to-date with the way attackers think, the tools they use and the methods they apply. This gives valuable insight into assessing the vulnerability of your own systems which provides a strategic and tactical advantage,” added exercise director Aare Reintam.

Crossed Swords is an intense hands-on cyber defence exercise that tests the skills of teams of IT experts in preventing, detecting, responding to and reporting full-scale cyber operations in a virtualised environment. The highly technical exercise is designed for situational awareness professionals, penetration testers and other IT security personnel.

Crossed Swords 2016 was organised by the Tallinn-based NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, a NATO-accredited knowledge hub, think-tank and training facility. The Centre has been organising Locked Shields annually; it is the world’s largest international network defence exercise. Locked Shields is unique in using realistic technologies, networks and attack methods, and including media and legal injects in addition to technical and forensic challenges.

The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence focuses on interdisciplinary applied research and development, as well as consultations, trainings and exercises in the field of cyber security. Membership of the Centre is open to all Allies. The Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, Turkey, the United Kingdom and the USA have signed on as sponsoring nations. Austria and Finland have joined the Centre as contributing participants. The Centre is funded and staffed by these member nations.