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NATO undertaking cyber defence exercise

NATO’s biggest cyber defence exercise, the week-long Cyber Coalition began on 16 November, aiming to train cyber defenders in their ability to defend NATO and national networks.

Drawing inspiration from current-day threats, the exercise tests officials’ real-time responses to incidents, such as attempts to breach classified networks, disruption of communications systems in critical infrastructure and espionage through smartphone applications.

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the exercise takes place virtually this year with cyber defenders connected through Estonia's Cyber Security Training Centre. Approximately 1,000 officials and experts from across the NATO Alliance, four partner nations (Finland, Ireland, Sweden, and Switzerland) and the European Union will take part.

Cyber security has moved to the top of NATO’s agenda in recent years and NATO protects its own IT networks 24 hours day. In 2014, NATO broadened the scope of its collective-defence commitment to cover severe cyber-attacks. In 2016, NATO declared cyber as an operational domain.  NATO has rapid reaction cyber defence teams on 24/7 standby help Allies. The Alliance has also set up a Cyberspace Operations Centre to increase its ability to respond.

NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu said cyber threats are becoming more complex and disruptive. She said: “NATO is committed to defend all Allies in cyberspace, as well as on land, in the air and at sea. A cyber-attack on one Ally can affect all of us. That is why strengthening our cyber defences is a priority for the Alliance.”

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