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Cyber simulation

More than 200 organisations and 400 cyber-security people from 29 European countries have been testing their readiness to counter cyber-attacks in a day-long simulation, organised by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA).

In Cyber Europe 2014 experts from the public and private sectors including cyber security agencies, national Computer Emergency Response Teams, ministries, telecoms companies, energy companies, financial institutions and internet service providers tested their procedures in a cyber-security scenario.

#CyberEurope2014 is the largest and most complex such exercise organised in Europe, say organisers. More than 2000 separate cyber-incidents were dealt with, including denial of service attacks to online services, intelligence and media reports on cyber-attack operations, website defacements (attacks that change a website’s appearance), ex-filtration of sensitive information, attacks on critical infrastructure such as energy or telecoms networks and the testing of EU cooperation and escalation procedures. Several exercise centres across Europe were coordinated by a central exercise control centre.

European Commission Vice-President @NeelieKroesEU said: “The sophistication and volume of cyber-attacks are increasing every day. They cannot be countered if individual states work alone or just a handful of them act together. I’m pleased that EU and EFTA Member States are working with the EU institutions with ENISA bringing them together. Only this kind of common effort will help keep today’s economy and society protected.”

And the Executive Director of Crete-based ENISA, Professor Udo Helmbrecht, said: “Five years ago there were no procedures to drive cooperation during a cyber-crisis between EU Member States. Today we have the procedures in place collectively to mitigate a cyber-crisis on European level. The outcome of today’s exercise will tell us where we stand and identify the next steps to take in order to keep improving.” For background visit the ENISA website.

Comment

Tim Erlin, director of IT risk and security strategy for Tripwire says a practice drill like this is good for organisations: “The participation of so many organizations across multiple countries demonstrates the interconnectedness of cybersecurity in the modern economy. Cyber-attacks have real consequences, and as we put more and more devices onto the network, the material impact will only increase, making exercises like this vital to the economic welfare of the world.

“While you can’t prepare for every type of attack, having a practiced response plan avoids paralyzing doubt and indecisions when an incident actually occurs. Time counts during a cyber-attack, and defining the right steps to take to mitigate the attack and restore trusted systems before a real attack occurs can significantly reduce the damage.”


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