Locked Shields 2023 was the most competitive exercise yet, with a big jump in quality among Blue Teams. Locked Shields is still growing and developing after all these years. “I am thankful for all the Blue Teams who make Locked Shields the unique exercise it is! I cannot stress enough how vital their contributions and feedback are to us,” said Mart Noorma, the Director of NATO CCDCOE.
The Sweden-Iceland joint team emerged as the most effective participant, followed by the Estonia-USA joint team and the Polish team. Effective teams foster strong collaboration between their strategic decision-makers and technicians to address all elements of a large-scale cyber attack.
Teams that can effectively handle all the challenges across various categories of a large-scale cyber attack are those that foster strong collaboration between their strategic decision-makers and technicians. By working together, they can ensure that all the attack elements are properly addressed, resulting in a more successful outcome.
“The fact that more and more nations are joining shows the quality and value of Locked Shields. Thanks to our partners, we can offer the training audiences new technical challenges and new avenues to explore. Learning to tackle new opposition, adapt, and collaborate are the main aims of Locked Shields,” added Noorma.
“There has been a noticeable jump in quality, which was impressive. For us, Locked Shields is the pinnacle of cyber defence exercises out there. We saw that training audience had prepared well, and team compositions were well thought through. As always, the participants provided invaluable experience for the organisers as well. Hats off to all the players and organisers!” said Carry Kangur, Head of the Exercise.
Kangur added that each of the 24 participating teams could be regarded as winners as they will likely have gained valuable and relevant training experience from Locked Shields, which offers a unique opportunity for teams to test their skills in a safe environment. “I know many people want to know who comes out on top. Even though scoring is a big part of the exercise, for us, it is more important to see participants adding new partners, members, and nations into their teams. It might sound like a cliché, but everybody is a winner at Locked Shields.”
Locked Shields is an annual NATO CCDCOE’s cyber defence exercise designed to test and improve the preparedness of member nations and partners against large-scale cyber attacks.
Locked Shields is made possible in partnership with TalTech, Clarified Security, Arctic Security, Bittium, CR14, SpaceIT, Atech, cybensis GmbH, Microsoft, SUTD iTrust Singapore, Fortinet, National Cybersecurity R&D Laboratory, Financial Services Information Sharing and Analysis Center (FS-ISAC), HAVELSAN, Deepensive, Estonian Defence Forces, NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence, Forestall, Rocket.Chat, Telia, and VTT.
The CCDCOE is a NATO-accredited knowledge hub for cyber defence, which includes international experts from the military, government, academia, and industry, currently representing 39 sponsoring and contributing nations. The CCDCOE supports mainstreaming cybersecurity into NATO and national governance. The CCDCOE is also responsible for identifying and coordinating education and training for all NATO bodies across the Alliance.