Locked Shields, the largest international cyber defense exercise, was recently held in Tallinn, Estonia. The NATO Cyber Defense Cooperation Center of Excellence (CCDCOE) organizes this annual exercise since 2010 to examine the cyber security capabilities of NATO member countries. It took more than six months to prepare for this exercise.
Its aim was to strengthen the Alliance's collective cyber defense policy and test the Allies' skills. Participants had a unique opportunity to demonstrate their ability to protect national civilian and military IT systems and critical infrastructure.
Locked Shields 2022 subjected approximately 5.500 virtual systems to more than 8.000 attacks. However, exercise is considered important not so much for its size as for its complexity.
The teams involved had not only to demonstrate their ability to protect the critical infrastructure of a fictional country, but also to be effective in reporting details of the digital battlefield, making strategic decisions, and resolving legal and information operational challenges. For the first time, in 2022, the technical exercise also included the simulation of the management of the inventories and systems of a central bank.
The exercise focused mainly on the interdependencies of international information systems.
This year, more than 2.000 people from 32 countries took part in the exercise. Twenty-four countries were members of NATO, including the Slovak Republic team, which participates in the exercise each year and to which in 2022 cybersecurity experts from the Czech Republic were added. As there was great interest, many countries joined forces to form joint groups, such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic, Lithuania and Poland, and Estonia and Georgia.
ESET had the opportunity to join the Slovak team in this exercise and thus prove to be a valuable member and partner of the country.
The Slovak-Czech team was formed by experts from the armed forces, government agencies and the private sector, including cybersecurity company ESET. Twenty-nine ESET security experts participated in the exercise, helping the SK-CZ team finish fifth overall and first in two sub-categories.
"Once again, the ESET team demonstrated its technical expertise in the Locked Shields 2022 exercise and helped the Slovakia-Czech Republic blue team achieve a very good ranking. ESET products were highly efficient in detecting incidents and allowed us to respond to emerging threats in a short period of time. "I would like to thank all those involved for their participation and the high level of professionalism", said the director of the Cyber Defense Center of the Slovak Republic.
The need for cybersecurity is becoming increasingly apparent, given current events such as the invasion of Ukraine and the COVID-19 pandemic. As the global community becomes increasingly dependent on technology, malicious agents are increasing their efforts to attack both the public and private sectors. In response, the Locked Shields exercise uses the latest technologies to train national teams in an environment based on realistic scenarios.