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

Staying ahead of the game in the world of data

Create successful marketing campaigns by understanding your customers better

Download now

Remote working 2020: Advantages and challenges

Discover how to overcome remote working challenges

Download now

Keep your data available with snapshot technology

Synology’s solution to your data protection problem

Download now

After the lockdown - reinventing the way your business works

Your guide to ensuring business continuity, no matter the crisis

Download now
Advertisement

Recommended

Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents
phishing

Russia hacked Liam Fox's personal email to steal trade documents

4 Aug 2020
British teenager charged over Twitter hack
hacking

British teenager charged over Twitter hack

3 Aug 2020
Mid-year report says vulnerabilities up 22% in 2020
hacking

Mid-year report says vulnerabilities up 22% in 2020

30 Jul 2020
BlackRock banking Trojan targets Android apps
trojans

BlackRock banking Trojan targets Android apps

27 Jul 2020

Most Popular

How to find RAM speed, size and type
Laptops

How to find RAM speed, size and type

3 Aug 2020
How do you build a great customer experience?
Sponsored

How do you build a great customer experience?

20 Jul 2020
Labour Party donors caught up in Blackbaud data breach
data breaches

Labour Party donors caught up in Blackbaud data breach

31 Jul 2020