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NATO Cyber Game Tests Defenses Amid War in Ukraine


NATO’s giant, multiday cyber protection train is about to deliver collectively technical consultants from alliance international locations and Ukraine practically two months after Russia’s invasion.

The annual cyber wargames, generally known as the Locked Shields train, will begin Tuesday in Tallinn, Estonia. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence organizes the occasion, which incorporates fictional cyberattack workout routines that take a look at groups should fend off beneath time strain.

This 12 months’s competitors is important for the international locations taking part as a result of their cyber protection models have been on excessive alert because the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, stated Anett Numa, a world coverage adviser within the cyber coverage unit of Estonia’s ministry of protection.

“Like-minded countries have to work together in order to protect themselves,” Ms. Numa stated. Ukrainian and Estonian consultants will work on the identical workforce within the train, she added.

Finland’s authorities web sites had been attacked on April 8 whereas the federal government had been discussing becoming a member of NATO. Ukrainian authorities web sites had been hacked in January whereas Russian troops gathered across the nation’s borders. “Every single political decision can cause an attack,” Ms. Numa stated, referring to present discussions in Finland about becoming a member of NATO. Estonia additionally skilled a large-scale cyberattack in 2007.

NATO officers have been discussing varied methods the alliance may assist Ukraine fend off cyberattacks, and gave the nation entry to its malware information-sharing platform in January. In February, U.S. deputy nationwide safety adviser for cyber and rising expertise

Anne Neuberger,

traveled to Brussels and Warsaw to debate Russian cyber threats with officers from NATO, the European Union, Poland and Baltic international locations.

The NATO alliance workforce consists of round 30 cyber defenders from totally different NATO our bodies and member international locations with specializations similar to communications, digital forensics, authorized experience and recovering programs broken from an assault, stated Ian West, chief of the NATO Cyber Security Centre, which defends NATO networks and is part of the group’s communications and knowledge company.

The train is helpful for cyber defenders from totally different international locations to speak with one another about assaults on the identical expertise merchandise that a number of governments use, Mr. West stated. “We all use commercial off-the-shelf systems. We’re all using the same technology and, as we know, many of these technologies come to market and unfortunately they are vulnerable,” he stated.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted NATO members to improve their weapons, deploy extra troops east and presumably even welcome extra international locations to the alliance. WSJ’s Shelby Holliday particulars the 3 ways the conflict has strengthened the NATO alliance. Photo composite: Elizabeth Smelov

The NATO heart organizing Locked Shields doesn’t make particulars of the simulated cyberattacks public. This 12 months’s train will concentrate on the “interdependencies between national IT systems,” it stated in an announcement. The wargames don’t draw on components of the latest cyberattacks in Ukraine as a result of these had been too latest, however the train typically does embrace eventualities that occurred in actual cyberattacks, Ms. Numa stated.

In 2021, greater than 2,000 contributors took half in a simulation that examined how a rustic may reply to a large-scale cyberattack on its monetary system and preserve crucial capabilities operating, similar to funds.

The good thing about the workout routines is that it units a baseline for contributors to measure their cyber protection abilities in opposition to one another, stated Stefan Soesanto, a senior cyber protection researcher at ETH Zurich.

The video games additionally assist consultants get to know their counterparts in allied international locations, he stated. “They’re a huge alliance with partners behind them. If things happen, you can rely on them to assist you,” he stated.

Write to Catherine Stupp at Catherine.Stupp@wsj.com

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