World´s Largest International Live-Fire Cyber Exercise to be Launched Next Week

Next week NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) organises Exercise Locked Shields 2021, the largest and most complex international live-fire cyber defence exercise in the world. This year the exercise highlights the need of cyber defenders and strategic decision-makers to understand the numerous interdependencies between national IT systems.

In 2021 Exercise Locked Shields exercise is taking place on 13-16 April and will again highlight the increased need for a better functional understanding between various experts and decision-making levels. The importance and relevance of Locked Shields can be gauged from the range of cyber threats that are concerning nations, and the exercise will test their ability to protect vital services and critical infrastructure.

The organisers integrate both technical and strategic games, enabling participating nations to practice the entire chain of command in the event of a severe cyber incident. This includes strategic and operational level decision making and involves defending both civilian and military infrastructures and capabilities.

According to the scenario, a fictional island country, Berylia, is experiencing a deteriorating security situation. A number of hostile events have coincided with coordinated cyberattacks against Berylian major military and civilian Information Technology systems.

In previous iterations of Locked Shields, the organisers of the exercise gathered in Tallinn, Estonia, with the participating Blue Teams joining remotely by secure online access from their home base. However, in 2021, the exercise differs in that the majority of organisers will also be contributing remotely from their home nations. This new format will result in Locked Shields being the world’s largest globally conducted live-fire cyber defence exercise.

Locked Shields 2021 is organised by CCDCOE in cooperation with NATO Communications and Information Agency, the Estonian Ministry of Defence, the Estonian Defence Forces, Siemens, Ericsson, TalTech, CR14, Bittium, Clarified Security, Arctic Security, Cisco, Stamus Networks, SpaceIT, Sentinel, the Financial Service Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), US Defense Innovation Unit, Microsoft, Atech, Avibras, SUTD iTrust Singapore, The European Centre of Excellence for Countering Hybrid Threats, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, European Defence Agency, Space ISAC, the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), STM, VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd, NATO M&S COE and PaloAlto networks.

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