Security Experts:

Europe and United States Conduct First Joint Cyber Security Exercise

The European Network and Information Security Agency (ENISA), Europe’s cyber security agency, and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security are conducting the first ever joint cyber security exercise today in Brussels.

ENISA Cyber Atlantic 2011ENISA Cyber Atlantic 2011According to the two agencies, the day-long table-top exercise, Cyber Atlantic 2011, is using simulated cyber-crisis scenarios to explore how the European Union and the United States would cooperate and respond in the event of cyber-attacks on their critical information infrastructures.

In one exercise, a targeted Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) attempts to exfiltrate and publish secret information from EU Member States' cyber security agencies. A second simulation focuses on the disruption of supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) systems in power generation infrastructures.

According to a report released this week, 93% of security professionals working at enterprise organizations are either “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about APTs and the impact that APT attacks could have on vital U.S. interests such as national security and the economy.

Cyber Atlantic 2011 is part of an EU-US cyber security initiative which was made at the EU-US summit in Lisbon in November 2010. ENISA says the idea is to "tackle new threats to the global networks upon which the security and prosperity of our free societies increasingly depend."

Today's exercise draws on lessons learned in the first pan-European cyber security "stress test" exercise, Cyber Europe 2010, which was facilitated last year by ENISA. ENISA released its final report Cyber Europe 2010, in April 2011. The exercise was conducted as a way to trigger communication and collaboration between countries and as a step for strengthening Europe’s cyber defenses in the event of large-scale cyber-attacks.

ENISA's role involves supporting EU Member States in organizing cyber security exercises and formulating national contingency plans.

"It is an honor for ENISA to be facilitating this extremely important milestone in international cyber security cooperation,” said ENISA's Executive Director, Professor Udo Helmbrecht. “The involvement of the Commission, EU Member States and, of course, the U.S., 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."

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For more than 10 years, Mike Lennon has been closely monitoring the threat landscape and analyzing trends in the National Security and enterprise cybersecurity space. In his role at SecurityWeek, he oversees the editorial direction of the publication and is the Director of several leading security industry conferences around the world.