Estonia hosts NATO’s flagship cyber defence exercise

The annual exercise Cyber Coalition, NATO’s flagship cyber defence exercise and one of the largest in the world, has begun in Tallinn, Estonia, and will continue until 1 December. 

The 2023 iteration aims to enhance the NATO and its partners’ resilience to cyber threats and their ability to conduct cyber operations together. The exercise is based on challenging, realistic scenarios that help prepare cyber defenders for real-life cyber challenges – including attacks on critical national infrastructure, as well as disruption of NATO and allied assets while on operations.

“Cyber Coalition 2023 will improve participants ability to identify, analyse and stop highly complex malware,” the exercise’s commander, Charles Elliot, said in a statement. “Due to the escalation of sophisticated cyber-attacks, it is imperative to continually improve coordination and collaboration between nations and national cyber defence proficiencies and this is what Cyber Coalition is designed to do.”

“Testing our capabilities, in realistic scenarios, will not only hone our procedures and test our capabilities, but it will also result in better defence of NATO allies and partners,” Elliott added. 

The Cyber Coalition exercise’s director commander, Charles Elliot. Photo by Allied Command Transformation.

Cyber Coalition 2023 involves 1,000 cyber defenders from 28 NATO member states – as well as seven partner countries, the EU, and participants from industry and academia. It is executed from Cyber Range 14 in the Estonian capital, which can be utilised to simulate a realistic network infrastructure.

Since 2007, when Estonia experienced large scale cyber-attacks that originated from Russia, the country has become one of the leaders in cybersecurity-related know-how. The NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence is also based in Tallinn.

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