EU cyber war simulation deemed successful

Cyber war

The first ever cross-European cyber war simulation was successfully carried out yesterday as part of an EU initiative.

Several member states took part, including the UK where a cyber attack centre was set up.

A total of 70 public bodies had to fend off attacks designed to replicate hacks against critical online services.

Participants cooperated with one another to avoid a total collapse of European networks, although one of the "lessons learnt" from the exercise was improvements in communication and procedures were needed.

The European Network Security Agency (ENISA) helped organise the simulation, during which the various public organisations were exposed to 320 attacks.

"Each mistake and error made were useful lessons learnt; that is what exercises are for," said executive director of ENISA, Dr Udo Helmbrecht.

"Now, the challenge is for the member states to analyse and properly implement these findings, of how to improve the communication channels and procedures. Both internally within a member state, and in between member states, across Europe, as to strengthen our common cooperation."

Graham Cluley, senior technology consultant at Sophos, said he was not surprised communication was an area that may need improvement.

"Communication is always key when you're in some kind of threat situation," he told IT PRO.

"Making clear, quick, effective communication to each other as to what's going on and having the ability to assimilate that information and work out what the best policy is in terms of how to protect against a threat is really important."

Cluley noted how exercises such as the ENISA initiative could help focus security workers' minds so they can deal with multiple and constant threats.

"The thing we need to realise is that organisations and government departments are effectively under attack 24 hours a day, seven days a week," he added.

On 10 November the ENISA will hold a media briefing to provide more details and conclusions on the exercise. A full report will then be delivered in early 2011.

The UK Government appears to be serious about cyber crime as well, announcing last month an investment of 500 million to help fight hackers.

Later in October, the Coalition pledged 900 million for targeting tax evasion and fraud by using better technology.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.