29 EU countries undertake a cyber-security exercise

cyber-europe-2014-logoPrague, 5 November 2014. According to a report by the European Union Agency for Network and Information Security (ENISA), the volume of global web-based attacks increased by almost a quarter in 2013 and the total number of data breaches was 61% higher than 2012. Each of the eight top data breaches resulted in the loss of tens of millions of data records. According to industry estimates cyber-crime and espionage accounted for between $300bn and $1tn in annual global losses in 2013.

That was one of the reasons why more than 200 organisations and 400 cyber-security professionals from 29 European countries tested their readiness to counter cyber-attacks on Thursday, 30 October, during the operational phase of Cyber Europe 2014, an exercise organised by ENISA. Experts from the public and private sectors – cyber security agencies, national Computer Emergency Response Teams (CERTs), ministries, telecom companies, financial institutions or internet service providers – tested their security procedures and capabilities in a life-like, large-scale cyber-security scenario. CESNET experts Daniel Studený and Martin Černý took part in the exercise on behalf of the Czech Republic.

Cyber Europe is the largest and most complex security exercise organised in Europe every two years. It takes place in three phases: technical (completed in May this year), operational (completed just now) and strategic, which is still under preparation. This time experts had to deal with more than 2,000 individual cyber-incidents including denial of service attacks on online services, website defacements, ex-filtration of sensitive information, attacks on critical infrastructure such as energy or telecommunications networks, etc. The exercise also included testing of EU cooperation and escalation procedures.

The exercise tested tools for dealing with cyber crises in Europe and enhanced national capabilities to tackle cyber crises. It identified ways to improve national and international co-operation between the private and public sectors. It also tested the new EU-Standard Operational Procedures (EU-SOPs), a set of tools for handling such crises consisting of contact points, guidelines, workflows, templates, tools and good practices, including guidance on how to manage major cyber incidents.

European Commission Vice-President and Digital Agenda Commissioner Neelie Kroes said: “The sophistication and volume of cyber-attacks are increasing every day. They cannot be countered if individual states work alone, or just a handful of them act together. I’m pleased that EU and EFTA Member States are working with the EU institutions, with ENISA bringing them together. Only this kind of common effort will help keep today’s economy and society protected.”

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

For more information about Cyber Europe 2014 and ENISA, please visit: enisa.europa.eu

The CESNET Association was founded by Czech universities and the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic in 1996. It is engaged in research and development in information and communication technologies and builds and develops the CESNET national e-infrastructure for research and education. With its research activities and accomplishments, CESNET represents the Czech Republic in international projects, most notably the pan-European GÉANT network building project and grid projects (EGI.eu), and participates actively in their implementation. CESNET puts great emphasis on the security of network operations, services and user protection.

Last change: 13.11.2014