The objective of the distributed, table top exercise was to trigger communication and collaboration between countries in Europe in response to large-scale cyber attacks. During the Cyber Europe exercise, 70 experts from the participating EU member states worked together to counter simulated attempts by hackers to shut down critical online services across Europe.
The simulation exercise was based on an Internet outage scenario involving a limited number of Internet Interconnection Sites (IIS1) between countries. During the exercise, Internet connectivity between European countries was gradually lost or significantly reduced, requiring cooperation between Member States to avoid a total network crash.
The exercise was organised in a distributed table-top format, with players participating from their office locations and as part of their daily routine. Participants from 30 countries from the EU and EFTA were involved with 22 as exercise participants and 8 as observers. There was a central exercise control organisation in place (EXCON), situated in Athens, which provided direction and guidance for the exercise. EXCON included the EU Member State facilitators from each participating country, as well as the EXCON facilitators from ENISA and 4C Strategies who overall control of the exercise.
The exercise was a first, key step for strengthening Europe’s cyber defences and vital for the common goal to combat potential online threats to essential Internet infrastructure. Supporting EU-wide cyber security preparedness exercises is one of the key priorities of EU, particularly the Digital Agenda for Europe initiative.
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