Australia joins NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE) Locked Shields for the first time, collaborating in Partner Run facilitated by Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre.
Last week the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (NATO CCDCOE) facilitated the world’s largest and most complex international live-fire cyber exercise, Locked Shields 2023.
The ‘Blue vs Red’ style exercise aims to train technical teams of cyber professionals (Rapid Reaction Teams) and strengthen their cooperation with legal, media, and strategic decision-making entities through a simulated hostile and vulnerable cyber and information crisis. Planning and implementation of the exercise take place throughout 11 months of the year.
“No other cyber defence exercise can offer as specialised and detailed of an experience as Locked Shields can. 24 Blue Teams from around the world must keep critical infrastructure and IT systems up and running. Teams can demonstrate how well they can keep systems running under real-life situations and high pressure,” said NATO CCDCOE director Mart Noorma.
“Technical specialists cannot solve a cyber crisis alone. Usually, decision-makers and experts from different governmental bodies and walks of life are those who try to repel the attacks,” explains Noorma. “This is why, in addition to cyber defence, we focus on strategy games, legal issues, and crisis communication at Locked Shields. Cooperation must be swift, because a large cyberattack can quickly escalate into a large-scale security crisis, and these kinds of exercises allow us to be better prepared,” added Noorma
For the first time in the thirteen years Locked Shields has been running, Australia has participated in the Partner Run. The function of the Partner Run is to test the Game Day scenario, systems and technology before the main event in April, honing the red team tactics for the full exercise. The partner run is a crucial component of the full-scale exercise and many of the teams in the partner run train for up to six months.
In early April, with only 5 weeks of preparation the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre in association with the University of Adelaide, facilitated the Australian participation in the Locked Shields 2023 Partner Run with its members McGrathNicol, CyberOps, Flinders University, DTEX, SecureState, SAAB, CISCO, Veroguard and SA Power Networks. Utilising the most technically advanced commercial Cyber Range in the Southern Hemisphere, the Locked Shields Partner Run was hosted at the Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre’s home base in South Australia’s Innovation Precinct, Lot Fourteen.
Led by Team Manager, Ben Cornish of McGrathNicol, alongside Technical Team Leader, Derek Grocke of CyberOps, teams were formed from both Corporate and Education Partners combining workforce and students into an operational body ready to tackle, analyse and report on the most complex of cyber threats in the simulation exercise. Australia’s involvement in the Partner Run is a display of our nation’s capability and increasing strength in the international ecosystem as the cyber defence of sovereign critical infrastructure comes into even sharper focus.
The Australian Cyber Collaboration Centre’s CEO, Matt Salier hosted key leaders of Australia’s business and cyber arena as part of the activation to connect on the topic, including the previous Premier, Hon. Steven Marshall MP, Defence Science and Technology Group’s Ben Luo alongside Suneel Randhawa and Ian Johnston both Research Leader Cyberwarfare Operations, University of Adelaide’s Pro Vice-Chancellor (Research Operations) & Chief Security Officer (Defence & National Security) Bruce Northcote and CISO Shuichi Sakai, SAAB’s Chief Engineer Graham Smith, Veroguard CEO Nic Nuske, Santos GM of Transformation Reneke van Soest, CyberOps CEO Daniel Floreani, Australian Space Agency CEO Enrico Palermo, Duncan Scott, Wing Commander 462SQN in the Information Warfare Directorate and Reg Carruthers Executive Director Defence and Space at Defence SA.
‘It is necessary that we provide best-in-world training for those in Australia who protect our critical systems. Regardless of public or private sector control, intense training exercises and live-fire simulations, are essential to upskill these people. Utilising our national and international networks and partners like NATO CCDCOE, we are making tremendously positive steps towards building our nation’s cyber capability.’ Matt expressed.
Work will begin on Locked Shields 2024 shortly, if you are interested in learning more about the roles involved and being a part of Australia’s participation, more information can be found at: www.cybercollaboration.org.au/intlcollaboration