The NATO cyber exercise, called Cyber Coalition, started in Tallinn on 28 November; one of the largest of its kind, the aim of it is to enhance the capabilities of NATO allies and partners to defend their networks and cooperation in cyberspace.
Taking place for the fifteenth time, the exercise participants include around 1,000 cyber defenders from 26 allied countries, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland. The European Union is also represented, along with participants from the private sector and academia. South Korea is participating as an observer.
During the exercise, participates will train to tackle real-life challenges, such as cyberattacks on electricity infrastructure and NATO allied forces in the context of operations.
“Although we don’t hear as much about it, there are ongoing cyber operations against Ukraine that began even before 24 February. Cyber-attacks also take place against allied countries daily, although resistance to these attacks is by no means a given,” Hanno Pevkur, the Estonian defence minister, said in a statement.
“This is why the allies need to run through a host of possible scenarios at the NATO level, to ensure that when asked about cyber-attacks we can continue to answer: Yes, there have been some, but so far, they have not had a significant impact.”
Raising the guard against cyber attacks
“The allies are committed to protecting their critical infrastructure, building resilience and bolstering their cyber defences. We will continue raising our guard against such malicious cyber activities in the future, and support each other to deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats. This includes considering possible collective counterattacks,” the US Navy Commander and exercise director, Charles Elliott, said.
The exercise is held at the Estonian defence ministry-founded Foundation CR14 – a cybersecurity research and development centre, based on more than 11 years of cyber range experience in the form of exercises, testing, validation and experimentation.
The Cyber Coalition exercise has been organised in Estonia since 2013. The exercise runs from 28 November to 2 December.