Nova, PPG test readiness for cyber war

Nova, PPG test readiness for cyber war
Nova, PPG test readiness for cyber war

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By Joyce Gannon
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
March 12, 2008

Greg Wilkinson, vice president, public and government affairs, at Nova 
Chemicals Corp., is spending much of his time this week playing cyber 
war games -- on company time. So is Betsy Mallison Bialosky, manager, 
corporate public relations, at PPG Industries.

The communications specialists at those two local chemical companies 
have their bosses' blessings to "play" because Nova and PPG are 
participants in a global exercise being conducted by the U.S. Department 
of Homeland Security to measure how governments and the private sector 
would respond to a massive cyber security threat.

The "game," dubbed Cyber Storm II and managed by Homeland Security in 
Washington, D.C., involves players from more than 40 companies in the 
information technology, transportation and chemical industries; 18 
federal departments and agencies, including the departments of defense 
and justice; nine states; and government officials in the United 
Kingdom, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.

Those involved in the coordinated simulation, estimated to cost $6.4 
million, declined to disclose details of the "attacks" but Mr. Wilkinson 
said they would likely include components such as a natural disaster, 
technical failures and criminal and terrorist activities.

"It's a crisis drill =E2=80=A6 to test our capabilities. It's designed to be a 
stretch. It escalates into a situation that would be complex for us to 
handle. And from that, we'll learn about our response capabilities," he 

Homeland Security, in a description of Cyber Storm II on its Web site, 
said, "The scenario will be executed by persistent, fictitious 
adversaries with a distinct political and economic agenda." The event, 
which took 18 months to plan, launched Monday and concludes Friday.

Homeland Security staged its first Cyber Storm in 2006 in which it 
simulated attacks against the energy, airline, communications and 
information technology industries. The federal agency, created by the 
Bush administration after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, will assess 
the results and produce a follow-up report to "apply the lessons learned 
=E2=80=A6 to strengthen the nation's cyber security preparedness and response 
mechanisms," the agency said.

Participants in this week's exercise are fielding a series of e-mails, 
faxes and other communications that inform them of simulated attacks to 
their technology, plants and infrastructure. They respond in real time 
to the situations and then face potential complications as the scenarios 
continue to unfold.

"We'll expose our team members to what's going on, and we'll respond =E2=80=A6 
as layers and layers of complexity are added to stretch and challenge 
our systems," said Mr. Wilkinson.

PPG has about seven employees involved in the exercise, including one in 
Washington and others at its Downtown headquarters and facilities in 
Monroeville and Lake Charles, La. "As it progresses, we will pull more 
of the staff in as we would if it were a real emergency," said Ms. 
Mallison Bialosky.

About 30 Nova employees are involved in the exercise at its executive 
center in Moon and facilities in Joffre, Alberta, and Sarnia, Ontario.

Other players from the chemicals sector include Dow Chemical Co. and Air 
Products and Chemicals. Among the information technology industry 
participants are Microsoft Corp., Cisco Systems and McAfee Inc., the 
computer security firm.

Nova and PPG became involved through the American Chemistry Council, 
which asked for members to volunteer for Cyber Storm II.

"We said, 'Yes, absolutely,'" said Mr. Wilkinson. "A big part of the 
benefit for us so far has been in the preparation: building 
relationships, getting a better understanding of the capabilities of the 
Department of Homeland Security and their systems, and taking a critical 
look at our own capabilities and preparations: Who do you call? Are our 
lists and procedures up to date? Who makes the decisions?"

Ms. Mallison Bialosky also serves on the public affairs committee for 
the event, a role in which she helped develop some of the attack 

"I'm in a unique position as an observer and a player. I'm watching how 
[PPG] responds, but I'm also playing as if there were an incident."

Copyright =C2=A91997 - 2008 PG Publishing Co., Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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