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Largest NATO cyber defense exercise begins in Estonia

by Rachel Amran April 25, 2024 2:59 AM 2 min read
The Ukrainian flag was raised at NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence in Tallinn. (Photo: Ukraine's Foreign Affairs Ministry / Twitter)
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NATO's largest cyber defense exercise, Locked Shields, began in Tallinn, Estonia, on April 24, drawing participants from over 40 countries, including Ukraine.

NATO's Cooperative Cyber Defense Center of Excellence (CCDOE) and the National Cyber ​​Security Coordination Center of Ukraine announced that over 4,000 representatives from numerous countries, including Ukraine, will take part in Locked Shields this year.

"They will face a range of challenges that replicate the complexities of cyber defense in the real world, including critical thinking, strategic decision-making, legal aspects, crisis communication, and strategic planning," the National Cyber ​​Security Coordination Center of Ukraine said on Facebook.

CCDOE Director Dr Mart Noorma said participants will reportedly practice scenarios on the first day that "require quick, cognitive thinking, adaptation to new technologies, and constant communication."

Similar to previous Locked Shields sessions, participants will be separated into two teams. One team will be tasked with defending the fictional state of Berylia from complex cyberattacks planned by the opposing that acts as the aggressor.

About a year ago, Ukraine's flag was raised at the CCDOE headquarters in Tallinn to mark Ukraine's "official accession" to the agency.

Moscow has regularly employed cyberattacks against Ukraine and its digital infrastructure throughout the duration of the full-scale invasion. Ukraine's leading telecommunications provider, Kyivstar, came under a massive cyberattack in December 2023. People across the country reported internet and network outages, as well as issues with air raid alerts.

SBU: Ukraine gathers evidence for ICC on Russian GRU hackers behind Kyivstar cyberattack
The SBU linked the attack to SandWorm, which is reportedly “a full-time unit” of Russia’s military intelligence agency, the GRU.
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