TALLINN – The NATO cyber exercise Cyber Coalition, starting on Monday at the CR14 foundation in Tallinn, is one of the largest of its kind in the world, where the purpose of the exercise is to strengthen the ability of NATO allies and partners to protect their networks and cooperation in cyberspace.
The exercise, which will last until Dec. 2, will see around 1,000 participants from 26 allied countries, Finland, Georgia, Ireland, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland, spokespeople for the Estonian Ministry of Defense said.
The European Union will also be represented and there will be participants from the private sector and universities. South Korea will also participate as an observer. During the exercise, real challenges are played out, such as cyber attacks on electrical infrastructure and NATO allied forces in operational situations.
"Although we hear less about it, there are cyber operations taking place against Ukraine that started even before Feb. 24. Cyber attacks are also taking place against allied countries on a daily basis, but resistance to them is by no means self-evident -- this is why the allies need to practice all possible scenarios at the NATO level so that, in the future, we can answer questions about cyber attacks by saying that yes, there have been attacks, but so far they have not had a significant impact," Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur said.
"Allies are committed to protecting their critical infrastructure, building resilience and bolstering their cyber defenses. We will continue raising our guard against such malicious cyber activities in the future, and support each other to deter, defend against and counter the full spectrum of cyber threats, including by considering possible collective responses," exercise director Cdr. Charles Elliott of the US Navy, said.
The exercise will allow NATO allies to strengthen their ability to protect information technology networks against cyber attacks around the clock and to exchange information about cyber attacks in real time with allies and partners.
The Cyber Coalition has been organized in Estonia since 2013, in addition, participants will join the exercise led by CR14 virtually from other capitals and locations.
"The CR14 cyber rangers team has the great honor and privilege to support one of NATO's most important collective defense exercises, providing a cyber training ground with broad capabilities, which has the potential to strengthen the cyber capabilities and innovation of both Estonia and our allies," Siim Alatalu, CEO of CR14, said.
CR14, a foundation established by the Ministry of Defense, is based on more than 11 years of Cyber Range experience in the field of exercises, testing, validation and experimentation. The purpose of CR14 is cyber security research and development, promotion of international cooperation in cyber security, organization of training and provision of cyber security services. CR14's cyber-physical solutions -- power grid, 5G networks, military systems, internet of things (IoT) -- also support specialized training, especially for critical infrastructure providers.