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“Locked Shields 2022” : NATO’s large-scale cyber defence exercise

MONS, Belgium – Locked Shields 2022, the largest and most complex international live-fire cyber defence exercise in the world, wrapped up on Friday, Apr. 22, 2022.

This real-time network defence exercise, organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallin, Estonia, has been taking place annually since 2010 putting the Alliance, NATO member countries and partners to the test.

“Locked Shields is a unique opportunity for participants to practice the protection of national civilian and military IT systems and critical infrastructure. It is conducted under conditions of intense pressure, with teams countering sophisticated and intense series of cyberattacks,” said Ian West, Chief of the NATO Cyber Security Centre.

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Locked Shields is the world's largest and most complex international real-time cyber defence exercise, organised by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) in Tallinn, Estonia.  Locked Shields 2022 was held from Apr. 19 to 22, 2022 with over 2000 participants from 33 nations. - Photo by NATO CCDCOE

This year, for the first time, the exercise included the simulation of reserve management and financial messaging systems of a central bank in the cyber range environment for the technical exercise.

More than 2000 participants from 33 nations were involved in this year’s exercise which took place between Apr. 19 to 22. Locked Shields 2022 included 24 member nations as well as partners participating and taking on the role of national Cyber Rapid Reaction Teams deployed to assist a fictional country in handling a large-scale cyber incident. In addition to securing complex IT systems, the participating teams were challenged with reporting incidents, strategic decision making and solving forensic, legal, media and information operations.

NATO has defensive Cyber Rapid Reaction Teams on standby 24 hours a day to assist Allies, and annually, cyber defenders from across the Alliance test their skills in major exercises. It’s part of collective defence that uses realistic technologies to train national teams within an exercise environment based on a fictional scenario. NATO conducts these regular exercises to further improve the Alliance’s collective cyber defence posture.

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