EU war game simulates cyber attack on military operations

Defence ministers gather in Estonia to test their ability to handle computer threats

The European Union has conducted its first cyber war games involving a simulated attack on a military mission abroad, in an effort to test its ability to respond to computer-related threats.

In the simulation performed on Thursday, hackers sabotaged a naval exercise in the Mediterranean and then took to social media to disparage the EU and incite unrest in member states.

Advertisement - Article continues below

Over the course of the 90 minute exercise at a closed site in Tallinn, Estonia, officials attempted to respond to the attacks and contain the threat as new developments emerged, according to a report by Reuters.

Among the participants was German defence minister Ursula von der Leyen, who said the war game was "extremely exciting", adding that it highlighted the need for EU states to be aware of the potential damage a widespread cyber attack could inflict.

"The adversary is very, very difficult to identify, the attack is silent, invisible. The adversary does not need an army, but only a computer with an internet connection," said Leyen, speaking to Reuters.

Participants were asked to answer multiple choice questions on tablets as the attack unfolded, including decisions on whether to issue public statements.

The war game comes four months after the WannaCry ransomware campaign, one of the largest and most widespread cyber attacks in history, affecting over 200,000 computers in 150 different countries.

Advertisement
Advertisement - Article continues below
Advertisement - Article continues below

Public services, shipping lanes, and telecommunication companies were some of the worst hit industries. This was almost immediately followed by the NotPetya ransomware attack, which also targeted infrastructure, public services and power grids, some of which have yet to recover from the distruption.

"We needed to raise awareness at the political level," said Jorge Domecq, chief executive of the European Defence Agency, the organising body behind the war game, speaking to Reuters.

Part of that awareness will be a contingency plan to deal with any state sponsored threats, including attacks emerging from Russia. Estonia in particular has placed a greater emphasis on cyber security defences following an attack in 2007, something it claimed was an attempt by the Kremlin to spark a cyber war.

Although studies have since suggested that the attacks originated from a different source, hacking groups widely regarded to have been state sponsored, such as the Fancy Bear collective, are thought to have been influenced by Russia.

In February this year, UK defence secretary Michael Fallon accused the Russian government of "weaponising misinformation" in an effort to destabilise the EU, and called on Nato members to honour their commitment to spend 2% of GDP on defence.

Featured Resources

Top 5 challenges of migrating applications to the cloud

Explore how VMware Cloud on AWS helps to address common cloud migration challenges

Download now

3 reasons why now is the time to rethink your network

Changing requirements call for new solutions

Download now

All-flash buyer’s guide

Tips for evaluating Solid-State Arrays

Download now

Enabling enterprise machine and deep learning with intelligent storage

The power of AI can only be realised through efficient and performant delivery of data

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Visit/security/355013/10-quick-tips-to-identifying-phishing-emails
Security

10 quick tips to identifying phishing emails

16 Mar 2020
Visit/business-strategy/mergers-and-acquisitions/354941/panda-security-to-be-acquired-by-watchguard
mergers and acquisitions

Panda Security to be acquired by WatchGuard

9 Mar 2020
Visit/security/internet-security/354417/avast-and-avg-extensions-pulled-from-chrome
internet security

Avast and AVG extensions pulled from Chrome

19 Dec 2019
Visit/security/354156/google-confirms-android-cameras-can-be-hijacked-to-spy-on-you
Security

Google confirms Android cameras can be hijacked to spy on you

20 Nov 2019

Most Popular

Visit/infrastructure/server-storage/355118/hpe-warns-of-critical-bug-that-destroys-ssds-after-40000-hours
Server & storage

HPE warns of 'critical' bug that destroys SSDs after 40,000 hours

26 Mar 2020
Visit/software/video-conferencing/355138/zoom-beaming-ios-user-data-to-facebook-for-targeted-ads
video conferencing

Zoom beams iOS user data to Facebook for targeted ads

27 Mar 2020
Visit/software/355113/companies-offering-free-software-to-fight-covid-19
Software

These are the companies offering free software during the coronavirus crisis

25 Mar 2020
Visit/mobile/mobile-phones/355088/apple-lifts-iphone-purchase-restrictions
Mobile Phones

Apple lifts iPhone purchase restrictions

23 Mar 2020