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04 14 2022

NATO Agency to participate in world's largest cyber security exercise Locked Shields

Locked Shields is the world's largest and most complex international real-time cyber defence exercise, organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia.

The NATO Communications and Information Agency (NCI Agency) has participated annually in Locked Shields since it was first held in 2010. This year's exercise is taking place from 19 to 22 April 2022.

NATO Agency to participate in worldtmpAmps largest cyber security exercise Locked Shields

Photo caption: From Exercise Locked Shields in 2016.

"NATO is a hub for cyber defence across the entire Alliance," said Ian West, Chief of the NATO Cyber Security Centre at the NCI Agency. "Locked Shields is an opportunity for a multinational team of both NATO and national experts to work together and learn how to collaborate with each other, providing them with an opportunity to realistically test their skills in a safe environment."

Locked Shields is a technical exercise where teams from the Alliance, NATO Member Countries and Partners compete against each other in a game-based simulation. Exercise Locked Shields is a red team vs. blue team exercise. Blue teams operate as national cyber teams that are deployed to defend a fictional country against the red teams that are trying to execute a large-scale cyber-attack.

The exercise is a unique opportunity for cyber defenders to practice defending network systems and critical infrastructure such as power plants, water supply and telecommunications, which are under pressure from a severe cyber-attack. This year, blue teams will also have to protect a medical institution and a financial institution.

The Alliance team, led by the NATO Cyber Security Centre, is made up of nearly 30 experts from the NCI Agency, as well as from other NATO bodies and three NATO Allies.

Participants will be reporting incidents and mitigating them in an effort to defend their fictional national civilian and military IT systems and critical infrastructure. The team will be required to adapt in real-time and deal with multiple sophisticated cyber-attacks carried out by the red team, resourced by experts from the NATO Cyber Security Centre, Allied Nations and industry.

"NATO continues to find ways to maintain its readiness. Through this exercise, we create training opportunities for our colleagues to share their distinct knowledge and boost each other's capabilities, further improving the Alliance's collective cyber defence posture," said Duarte Silva, Senior Scientist, NATO Cyber Security Centre. "This will span beyond Locked Shields, to continue collaboration and coordination in real life incidents."