University hosted government training exercise to prepare for cyber attacks

The simulation took place in the new Cyber Polygon at the premises of the Institute of Computer Science.

The first year of a national cyber security technical training exercise Cyber Czech 2015 organised by the National Security Authority in cooperation with the Masaryk University Institute of Computer Science has taken place in Brno at the beginning of October. The simulation took place in the new Cyber Polygon at the premises of the Institute of Computer Science in a special closed computer system that allows testing without putting an external network at risk.

The objective was to face real cyber attacks and resolve events and incidents as they arise. Experts were checking the technical skills of the participants and the exchange of information between the individual participating teams. The event was based on a prepared scenario drawing on real-life incidents and the Cyber Security Act. However, both the scenario and the story of the exercise were fully fictitious.

This was the first technical training exercise that allowed participating employees of key ministries and other authorities of the Czech Republic to gain first-hand experience with protecting a simulated network of an important power plant from cyber attacks. The attacks were relatively simple in the beginning and gradually escalated into more sophisticated ones, ending in an attack on the system of an important industrial facility, which is a part of the critical information infrastructure.

The individual players were divided into five defensive teams and faced six hours of increasing activity of the attackers so that they could practice what to do under pressure in a real cyber crisis. Their task was to react to the attacks and technical problems as well as to evaluate their legal or media impact.

The simulated attacks were engineered by experts from the National Cyber Security Centre together with experts from the Cyber Polygon. “This was the first test of the Polygon, which does not only serve for university research but also provides a unique physical and virtual space for our public authority partners as well as for companies," explains Michal Bulant, Masaryk University Vice-Rector for Studies and Information Technologies.