NATO this week kicked off its Cyber Coalition 22 exercise with a mission to enhance cyber resilience among its members.
The military alliance brought together 1000 defenders from 26 member countries plus Finland and Sweden, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Switzerland and the EU, as well as participants from industry and academia.
The five-day exercise is designed to pose real-life challenges to participants such as cyber-attacks on power grids and NATO assets, with a view to enhancing their ability to defend networks and collaborate in cyberspace, the alliance said.
“Cyber Coalition 22 provides a unique platform for collaboration, experimentation, sharing of experience and developing best practices,” it added.
“By working together, individual participants – as well as their organizations, nations and NATO – enhance their cyber resilience.”
Although the exercise is run annually, there will be extra urgency to its efforts this year given the situation in Ukraine.
As early on in the conflict as April 2022, Microsoft noted that Russia had launched 237 campaigns against Ukrainian targets since just before the invasion.
This included nearly 40 attacks on hundreds of mainly government and critical infrastructure assets.
Operations were often timed to coincide with real-world military operations, such as the cyber-attack on a major Ukrainian broadcaster on March 1, the same day as a missile strike on a TV tower in Kyiv.
However, separate reports suggest that, despite the unprecedented intensity of cyber-attacks launched by Russia over the past few months, Ukrainians have defended remarkably well – learning the lessons from previous attacks on critical infrastructure in December 2015 and 2016.
That in itself holds some important lessons – that cyber-warfare during a real-life conflict is not always effective. It takes many months to prepare for sophisticated attacks and they may ultimately have less impact than merely dropping bombs, the report suggested.
NATO’s Cyber Coalition is taking place in the Estonian capital of Tallin, with participants also joining remotely from other locations.
Editorial credit header image: Maxim Studio / Shutterstock.com
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