Exercise Locked Shields 18 has ended
The Finnish Defence Forces participated in the international Locked Shields 2018 cyber defence exercise from 23-27 April 2018. More than 1000 cyber experts from 30 nations took part in the exercise.
Blue-teams from among others the Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Germany, France, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Great Britain and the United States participated in the exercise. Finland participated with both a national team and a joint team together with Sweden. In addition to the individual countries, also NATO participated with a team of its own, and the EU with a CERT-EU team.
The exercise utilises state-of-the-art technology on an annual basis to conduct realistic cyber attacks in a training environment. The exercise environment has been expanded compared to previous years. New elements included mobile systems, an electricity system and water purification plant. Defending these systems brought new challenges and competence requirements.
The cooperation with Swedish colleagues was a significant achievement. During the exercise, the Finns and Swedes succeeded in creating joint operational models and procedures according to which better and more effective cooperation can be conducted in the future.
Important observations were made by the reservist team
Having reservists participate in the exercise benefits civilian companies and society as well as the Defence Forces. Participants on the Finnish National Defence Training Association’s courses, the Defence Forces’ personnel and reservists had the opportunity to practice different protection methods and network with other professionals both nationally and internationally. These skills and connections are of use to them also in their own work. In connection with the exercise, the Defence Forces were also able to verify what know-how the reservists and the participants on the National Defence Training Association’s courses have, and offer them a good opportunity to practice using their professional knowledge as well as maintain and develop it.
The teams’ enthusiasm and will to get things done was really high throughout the exercise. In the thick of the exercise everybody was so deeply focused on their own tasks that they sometimes almost didn’t have time to go and eat. Of course the attacking red team did its best to keep everyone on their toes trying to defend the systems they were ordered to protect.
Already during the preparation phase, the national team found a previously undetected vulnerability in the systems used in the exercise. This observation is significant and has an effect also in real life, not just in this exercise.
All in all, we can state that, in Finland, we have skilled professionals both in the civilian world and within the Defence Forces. They all possess the right motivation and know-how for protecting important systems of a business or of society.