NATO pre­par­ing large-scale cy­ber de­fense drill in Es­to­nia

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY JARI TAN­NER

About 400 com­puter ex­perts will par­tic­i­pate in a ma­jor cy­ber­se­cu­rity drill in Es­to­nia this week as part of NATO’s ef­forts to up­grade its ca­pa­bil­ity to counter po­ten­tially de­bil­i­tat­ing hacker at­tacks.

Teams from 16 na­tions will take part in the Locked Shields 2015 ex­er­cise at NATO’s cy­berde­fense cen­ter in Tallinn. The an­nual drill is one of the largest of its kind.

This year’s drill will in­volve both the Win­dows 8 op­er­at­ing sys­tem and the up­com­ing Win­dows 10 sys­tem, or­ga­niz­ers said Tues­day.

The drill comes at a time of height­ened ten­sions in Eastern Europe, where NATO mil­i­tary forces are ex­er­cis­ing al­most con­tin­u­ously to de­ter any Rus­sian ag­gres­sion fol­low­ing Moscow’s in­ter­ven­tion in Ukraine.

Rob Pritchard, a cy­ber­se­cu­rity ex­pert at the Royal United Ser­vices In­sti­tute in Lon­don, said the cy­ber drill prob­a­bly has a sim­i­lar fo­cus.

“Rus­sia is cur­rently loom­ing large on the NATO radar, and the ex­er­cise is likely to sim­u­late at- tacks sim­i­lar to those used by the Rus­sian state, and state-backed ac­tors,” Pritchard said.

Li­isa Past, a spokes­woman for the NATO Co­op­er­a­tive Cy­ber De­fence Cen­tre of Ex­cel­lence in Tallinn, said the ex­er­cise is “based on a com­pletely fic­tional sce­nario,” fea­tur­ing a fic­tional coun­try.

Es­to­nian gov­ern­ment, me­dia and cor­po­rate web­sites were par­a­lyzed in 2007 by cy­ber­at­tacks that Es­to­nia said were or­ches­trated by Rus­sia. Moscow de­nied any in­volve­ment.

Pritchard said other el­e­ments in the ex­er­cise could in­clude at­tacks from pro-ter­ror­ist or­ga­ni­za­tions, such as those against the French broad­caster TV5Monde re­cently by a pro-Is­lamic State group which dis­rupted the chan­nel’s broad­casts.

At a NATO sum­mit last Septem­ber, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and other lead­ers or­dered a ramp-up in the al­liance’s cy­berde­fense ca­pa­bil­i­ties and warned that a cy­ber­at­tack against a NATO mem­ber state could trig­ger the same col­lec­tive de­fense re­sponse as mil­i­tary ag­gres­sion.

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