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B1MwLQfCMAEtvZLOn October 30, the European Union Agency for Network Information Security (ENISA) executed the largest ever incident response readiness exercise, with the participation of more than 200 organizations and 400 cyber security professionals from 29 European countries.

The day-long simulation, known as Cyber Europe 2014, aimed to test the procedures and capabilities in the event of a cyber-attack of industry experts from the public and private sectors, including cyber security agencies, national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTS), government ministries, telecommunications companies, energy companies, financial institutions and Internet service providers.

According to ENISA, the event is the largest and most complex exercise organized in Europe to date, with organizations responding to more than 2,000 separate cyber-incidents, such as denial of service attacks, exfiltration of sensitive information, website defacements and threats to the critical infrastructure.

The organization stated the scenarios were based on realistic, potential incidents that would meet the objectives of the exercise:

  • To test the Member States and industry working together for resilience of IT systems and response capacity in case of a serious cross-border cyber-security threat.
  • To test standard cooperation procedures in the European Union.
  • To train and test national-level capabilities, explore effectiveness of collaboration between private-public and private-private players.
  • To analyze how the events escalate and de-escalate; to understand these processes at all technical, operation, and strategic levels, as well as to understand the related public affairs issues linked to cyber threats.

“Five years ago there were no procedures to drive cooperation during a cyber-crisis between EU Member States,” said ENISA’s Executive Director Udo Helmbrecht. “Today, we have the procedures in place collectively to mitigate a cyber-crisis on European level. The outcome of today’s exercise will tell us where we stand and identify the next steps to take in order to keep improving.”

Following the exercise, ENISA plans to issue a report with key findings of the second phase of the simulation involving the tactical and operational aspects. In April of 2014, ENISA executed the first phase, involving incident detection, investigation, mitigation and information exchanges. The last phase of the exercise will examine decision making, political impact and public affairs.

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