DHS Launches Cyber Attack Exercise

DHS Launches Cyber Attack Exercise
DHS Launches Cyber Attack Exercise 

By J. Nicholas Hoover
September 28, 2010 

For three or four days this week, the Internet will come under a virtual 
attack from an unknown adversary, and it will be up to the government 
and private sector's coordinated efforts to root out the cause and work 
together to keep systems up and running -- at least within the simulated 
confines of the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber Storm III 
exercise, which begins Tuesday.

The Cyber Storm series of exercises simulates large cyber attacks on 
critical infrastructure and government IT assets in order to test the 
government's preparedness. Specifically, this year's exercise will be 
the first time DHS will test both the draft National Cyber Incident 
Response Plan (an effort to provide a coordinated response to major 
cybersecurity incidents) that will be publicly released later this year 
and the new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center 
(the hub of DHS' cybersecurity coordination efforts).

With cybersecurity continuing to heat up as a national defense priority, 
Cyber Storm III will give the government a chance to see how ready it's 
processes and people really are in protecting the nation and Internet 
against malicious hackers. "So much of the cyber mission space is about 
collaboration, and every once in a while you've got to kick the tires to 
see how well it works," Bobbie Stempfley, director of DHS' National 
Cyber Security Division, said in a meeting with reporters last week.

This year's exercise will be the largest yet, including representatives 
from seven cabinet-level federal departments, intelligence agencies, 11 
states, 12 international partners and 60 private sector companies in 
multiple critical infrastructure sectors like banking, defense, energy 
and transportation. High-level officials, including federal 
cybersecurity coordinator Howard Schmidt and deputy homeland security 
secretary Jane Holl Lute, will be among those taking part.


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