WASHINGTON — European military and staff planners from Belgium to Bulgaria gathered this week in Austria to take part in Cyber Phalanx 2018. The exercise, which involved 27 nations, aimed to strengthen European readiness against cyberattacks, with a special focus on “cyber defense decision-making and planning processes,” according to the European Defense Agency announcement.
The heads of Britain and Germany’s domestic intelligence agencies joined European Union officials to warn of an expanded use of cyber to undermine democratic processes by Russia. Countries like Finland have identified cyber espionage as a top threat to the survival of national technology companies.
While the EU has organized little in the way of cyber exercises, the Cyber Phalanx exercise won’t be the first among European allies to focus on cyber readiness and training.
NATO has taken the lead in preparing member nations for cyber threats, organizing exercises like Crossed Swords for members to gain experience with cyber-kinetic operations involving drones and 5G networks.
The alliance also recently declared success at its Locked Shields exercise after NATO cyber specialists defended a theoretical country’s electric power grid, communication networks and other critical infrastructure from thousands of cyberattacks.
NATO has also led the EU in discussions of a response to a cyberattack, even raising the possibility of treating a digital transgression as an act of war.