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US and EU hold first joint cybersecurity exercise

Warwick Ashford

The US and EU are holding their first joint cybersecurity exercise in Brussels on 3 November 2011, involving more than 20 EU member states and supported by the EU's cybersecurity agency Enisa and the US Department of Homeland Security.

The day-long Cyber Atlantic 2011 exercise involves simulated cyber-crisis scenarios to see how the EU and US would engage and cooperate in the event of a cyber attack on their critical information infrastructures.

In one scenario, a targeted stealthy cyber attack attempts to exfiltrate and publish online secret information from EU member states' cybersecurity agencies. Another simulation focuses on the disruption of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in power generation infrastructures.

Cyber Atlantic 2011 is part of an EU-US commitment to cybersecurity which was made at the EU-US summit in Lisbon on 20 November 2010. The aims are to "tackle new threats to the global networks upon which the security and prosperity of our free societies increasingly depend".

The exercise draws on lessons learned in the first pan-European cybersecurity "stress test" exercise, Cyber Europe 2010, which was facilitated last year by Enisa, whose role includes supporting EU member states in organising cybersecurity exercises and formulating national contingency plans, with good practice guides and seminars.

"It is an honour for Enisa to be facilitating this extremely important milestone in international cybersecurity cooperation," said Udo Helmbrecht, executive director of Enisa.

The involvement of the European Commission, EU member states and the US in the exercise shows the high level of commitment to ensuring protection for digital infrastructures for the benefit of all citizens, he said.

Lessons learned from Cyber Atlantic 2011 will be used to plan further potential joint EU-US cyber exercises.

 


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