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NATO’s Crossed Swords exercise preps cyber warriors

WASHINGTON ― NATO has concluded an exercise meant to prepare the alliance’s cyber warriors for future cyber-kinetic operations has concluded. Crossed Swords 18 hosted 80 participants from 15 countries.

NATO’s Cooperative Cyber Defense Centre of Excellence, or CCDCOE, coordinated the exercise in Latvia, which focused on “enhancing further cooperation and information sharing between civilian and military spheres, joining together Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) providers and military units.”

The training objectives for the exercise included attributing cyberattacks that target information systems, launching stealthy cyber counterattacks, and coordinating tactics between cyber and kinetic units.

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Alliance members, such as Norway, which recently partnered with state telecom provider Telenor Norway to develop advanced cyber defenses, are concerned their networks will be vulnerable to increasingly dynamic cyberthreats unless relationships between CII providers and the international security apparatus is deepened.

“It is evident that in order to defend ourselves better in cyber space, we need to know how attacks are carried out,” said Aare Reintam, the project manager of technical exercises at CCDCOE.

To that effect, Crossed Swords partnered with CII providers and “used mobile network technologies for identifying a target, drone surveillance and 5G sensors for acquiring its location and gathering further information enabling to accomplish the [exercise’s] goal.”

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