National EU-US Cyber Attack Exercise in Brussels a Success

“Cyber security is one of the most serious economic and national security challenges we face as a nation, but one that we as a government or as a country are not adequately prepared to counter.” – President Barack Obama

On the 3rd of November 2011, the European Union (EU) and United States (US) conducted the first joint cyber security exercise (Cyber Atlantic 2011) in Brussels. This exercise was conducted using simulated cyber crisis exercises to show how the US and EU would react and cooperate in the event of a cyber attack.

“It is an honour for ENISA to be facilitating this extremely important milestone in international cyber security cooperation. European Vice-President, Neelie Kroes, has spoken of the importance of information communications technology for today’s citizens and for the economy. The involvement of the Commission, EU Member States and, of course, the US, in today’s exercise shows the high level of commitment we have to ensuring that we protect our digital infrastructures for the benefit of all citizens,” said ENISA’s Executive Director, Professor Udo Helmbrecht.

The cyber attack trial was based on two possible variances.

In the first variable, an EU National Cyber Security Agency (NCSA) was confronted with an Advanced Persistence Threat (APT), under this threat an active hacker group launched a targeted cyber attach to gather sensitive and vital information from the victims and post it online.

In the second variable, it covered system failures based on supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA). This covered essential systems such as oil and gas lines, water treatment facilities, civil defense siren systems, communication systems and electrical and power transmissions.

Cyber Atlantic 2011 was formed during the EU-US Summit in Lisbon in November 2010 and more than 20 EU members states were involved in the cyber attack exercise.

According to Neelie Kroes, European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda said the recent high profile cyber attacks show that global threats need global action. This cyber attack exercise provided a valuable lesson for specialists on both sides of the Atlantic.

On November 9, 2011, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) will conduct the first nationwide test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The thing that makes this test different than past tests is that the US government has launched a massive public service campaign through television commercials informing citizens about the test.

Joint Statement, EU-US Summit, Nov. 2010:

ENISA Cyber Europe 2010 exercise reports:

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