Experts run large cyber attack simulation exercise

Europe’s cyber security experts are testing their responses today in the first ever pan-European cyber-attack simulation exercise. In “Cyber Europe 2010“, experts will try to counter simulated attempts by hackers to paralyze critical online services in several EU Member States.

The exercise scenario concerns incidents affecting the availability of Internet in several European countries. The basic idea is that Internet interconnectivity between countries becomes gradually unavailable. As a result citizens, businesses and public institutions will have difficulties in accessing critical online services, unless the traffic from affected interconnections is rerouted.

As the phenomenon continues, one country after the other will increasingly throughout the day suffer from this problem, over phone and mails, as a desktop exercise. In that case, all playing Member States will have to co-operate to jointly respond to such fictitious crisis.

In the exercise, Member States will need to cooperate with each other to avoid a simulated total network crash. The event is organized by EU Member States with support from the European Network Security Agency (ENISA) and the Joint Research Centre (JRC).

Today’s exercise is due to be followed by more complex scenarios ultimately going from European to global level. Supporting EU-wide cyber-security preparedness exercises is one of the actions foreseen by the Digital Agenda for Europe to enhance online trust and security.

In the simulation, citizens, businesses and public institutions would have difficulties to access critical online services (such as eGovernment), unless the traffic from affected interconnections were rerouted.

The exercise will be based on a scenario as if, throughout the day, one country after the other increasingly suffered from access problems. All participating Member States will have to co-operate to mount a joint response to the fictitious crisis.

This cyber security exercise aims to enhance Member States’ understanding of how cyber incidents are handled and test communication links and procedures in case of a real large-scale cyber incident. The exercise will test the appropriateness of contact points in the participating countries, the communication channels, the type of data exchanges over these channels and the understanding that Member States have of the role and mandate of their counterparts in other Member States.

For more information listen to our podcast with Dr. Vangelis Ouzounis, program manager of the CIIP program at ENISA.

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