Just as the Obama administration announced plans to provoke a cyber war with Russia over their alleged ties to the hack of Hillary’s emails, Europe is launching the biggest “cyber wargame” in history to prepare for emergency responses to power cuts, banking outages etc. According to a press release posted by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the war games will include various scenarios including power outages and attacks on various national and governmental agencies.
Today marks the climax of this realistic scenario which thousands of experts from all 28 EU Member States, Switzerland and Norway are facing in Cyber Europe 2016 – a flagship activity organised every two years by ENISA, the EU Agency for Network and Information Security.
Cyber Europe 2016 (CE2016) is the largest and most comprehensive EU cyber-security exercise to date. This large-scale distributed technical and operational exercise started in April 2016, offering the opportunity for cybersecurity professionals across Europe to analyse complex, innovative and realistic cybersecurity incidents. On 13th and 14th of October ICT and IT security industry experts from more than 300 organisations, including but not limited to: national and governmental cybersecurity agencies, ministries, EU institutions as well as internet and cloud service providers and cybersecurity software and service providers will be called upon to mitigate the apex of this six-month long cyber crisis, to ensure business continuity and, ultimately, to safeguard the European Digital Single Market.
Cyber Europe 2016 paints a very dark scenario, inspired by events such as the blackout in an European Country over Christmas period and the dependence on technologies manufactured outside the jurisdiction of the European Union. It also features the Internet of Things, drones, cloud computing, innovative exfiltration vectors, mobile malware, ransomware, etc. The exercise will focus on political and economic policies closely related to cybersecurity. This also takes into account new processes and cooperation mechanisms contained in the Network and Information Security (NIS) Directive. For the first time, a full scenario was developed with actors, media coverage, simulated companies and social media, bringing in the public affairs dimension associated with cyber crises, so as to increase realism to a level never seen before in cybersecurity exercises.
Per ZD Net, the cyber war games were launched back in April and have been building up to a “major cyber security crisis with a series of fictional attacks on European digital networks.“
More than 700 security experts are battling a fictional cyber crisis featuring power cuts, drones and ransomware as part of the European Union’s biggest cyber defence exercise to date.
Cyber Europe 2016 kicked off back in April, as since then has been simulating the build up to a major cyber security crisis with a series of fictional attacks on European digital networks, culminating in this week’s finale, where security industry experts from more than 300 organisations work together “to ensure business continuity and, ultimately, to safeguard the European Digital Single Market.”
“Computer security attacks are increasingly used to perform industrial reconnaissance, lead disinformation campaigns, manipulate stock markets, leak sensitive information, tamper with customer data, sabotage critical infrastructures,” warns the scenario.
For the first time ever the European cyber war games will include a full suite of actors simulating media coverage as well as company and social media reactions.
ENISA said the exercise features the Internet of Things, drones, cloud computing, innovative exfiltration vectors, mobile malware and ransomware. For the first time, it said, a fully fledged story was developed with actors, media coverage, simulated companies and social media, so as to make the scenario as realistic as possible to those participating.
Because cyber defence is seen as an pressing international issue there are now a number of these large-scale exercises: NATO runs ‘Locked Shields’, which involves around 550 people across 26 nationalities, and is based in Tallinn. The US runs the ‘Cyber Guard’ event every year, which this year saw around 1,000 players dealing with a fictional attack on an oil refinery, power grids, and ports.
Depending on how far the Obama administration is willing to go with threats to launch a cyber attack against Russia we could have some very real data for ENISA to analyze in the not so distant future about how a country actually responds to a “cyber war.”