For the first time, Ukraine will participate in the Locked Shields 2024, NATO’s annual cyber defense drill and the world’s largest live-fire cyber defense exercise.

According to the National Security and Defense Council (NCCC) of Ukraine, about 4,000 experts from more than 40 nations will take part in a simulated environment during Locked Shields to protect the infrastructure of a fictional nation and country.

“This year, Ukraine is joining forces with the Czech Republic in a common team for this exercise. Joint development of skills, exchange of experience and cooperation are key elements on the way to effectively countering modern cyber threats,” said Serhii Demediuk, deputy secretary of the NCCC.

Organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) based in Tallinn, Estonia, the annual exercise started in 2010 and required experts from different areas to collaborate and address the multifaceted nature of cyber threats.

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The participants will tackle a series of challenges that replicate the complexity of real-world cyber defense, leveraging skill sets such as critical thinking, strategic decision-making, legal considerations, crisis communication and strategic planning to bolster the overall cyber defense capabilities.

“This exercise is a demonstration of the power of international cooperation, transcending borders and uniting a diverse community of experts from the public and private sectors and academia.

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“We are grateful for the dedication and expertise of our allies and all our partners, which are crucial in building a resilient global cyber defense,” said Lt-Col. Urmet Tomp, exercise director at NATO CCDCOE.

The war in Ukraine has seen a surge of cyberattacks between Russia and Ukraine in a tit-for-tat manner involving state-sponsored groups, where the attacks were sometimes carried out in coordination with conventional strikes.

In recent years, hacker groups affiliated with Russian intelligence have also carried out attacks on Western infrastructure, with some success in infiltrating government agencies.

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The CCDCOE did not disclose the exact dates of the exercise.

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