Slovenia joins Locked Shields cyber defence exercise for first time

Ljubljana – The Locked Shields 21 cyber defence and strategic decision-making exercise will start on Tuesday in 30 countries, including Slovenia for the first time. The largest and most complex international exercise in the field will in Slovenia also include representatives of businesses.

Organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) annually since 2010, the exercise will see Slovenia participate for the first time as the country became a CCDCOE member last year.

Taking place until Friday, it will feature over 2,000 experts in cyber security, strategic decision-making and strategic communication, Viktor Sterle of the Defence Ministry’s IT and communications office announced at a press conference.

Sterle added that it would enable countries to be tested in a realistic and safe environment, and improve their capabilities of defence of national information systems and critical infrastructure against cyber attacks.

The first, technical and competitive part of the exercise will feature red teams from excellence centres acting against blue teams comprising the participating countries.

The latter will play the role of national groups for rapid response to cybersecurity events and help a fictitious country solve complex cybersecurity incidents.

The blue teams will be assessed and classified at the end of the exercise. In addition to the Slovenian, it will feature another 21 blue teams from various countries, with 40 experts in each term on average, Sterle said.

In the second part of the exercise, the process of recognition, coordination and decision-making will be tested in simulated cases of complex cybersecurity incidents in accordance with the relevant national legislation.

According to Sterle, the scenario is based on real cybersecurity events, and the exercise environment will feature around 5,000 virtualised systems that will be exposed to more than 4,000 attacks.

He noted that, as the Covid-19 epidemic had made society even more dependent on ICT and virtual services, effective cooperation between the public and private sector had become a must in creating a safe cyberspace.

The Slovenian blue team will thus feature experts from companies associated in the cybersecurity section of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GZS), and experts from the state and public administration.

Gregor Spagnolo, the head of the section and leader of the Slovenian team, welcomed the public-private partnership, and noted that this was the first time intensive cooperation in cybersecurity took place at such a high level in Slovenia.