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05 October 2012, 10:19

Cyber Europe 2012: Governments and industry run joint exercise

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As part of the Cyber Europe 2012 emergency drill, around 400 experts from major banks, telecommunications companies and internet service providers, as well as government institutions from 25 EU member states, demonstrated how well prepared they are in terms of cyber defence. During the simulation on Thursday, they were confronted with a DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack. According to a press release from the European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), which supports the exercise platform together with the European Commission's in-house science service, the scenario combines "several technically realistic threats".

Participants were confronted with around 1,200 separate incidents, including being bombarded with around 30,000 emails. In a real attack, millions of citizens and companies across Europe could be affected by major disruptions, warned the Commission, adding that the EU economy could suffer millions of euros of damage as a result.

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes, who is responsible for the EU's Digital Agenda, reported that this time, the exercise also included businesses. "This cooperation is essential given the growing scale and sophistication of cyber attacks", said the Commissioner. "Working together at European level to keep the internet and other essential infrastructures running is what today's exercise is all about."

The campaign is based on the experience gained during the first exercise of this kind, which took place in 2010. The Executive Director of ENISA, Udo Helmbrecht, announced after the exercise that, although various weaknesses had been identified, there was no real reason for concern. Helmbrecht said that bringing so many participants with the most varied responsibilities to one table was a big success in itself. According to the executive, Thursday's exercise was about improving the resilience of critical information networks and was aimed at testing existing mechanisms and procedures to find more effective ways of handling large-scale cyber incidents.

(Stefan Krempl / fab)

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