This post is also available in: heעברית (Hebrew)

When the desired target is not directly reachable over cyberspace, the kinetic engagement by military units equipped with the latest technological and tactical advancements is required to execute such an operation. Crossed Swords 2018, NATO’s technical red teaming cyber defense exercise took place recently in Latvia, involving critical information infrastructure providers and cyber-kinetic engagement of military units. For the first time, several kinetic and cyber operations were carried out simultaneously in different geographical locations. The exercise involved more than 80 participants from 15 countries.

Crossed Swords 2018 focused on enhancing further cooperation and information sharing between civilian and military spheres, joining together Critical Information Infrastructure (CII) providers and military units, according to ccdcoe.org.

“The exercise aims to practice skills required to fill the role of the Red Team at cyber defense exercises and to offer the most cutting-edge and challenging training experience for national cyber defenders. It is evident that in order to defend ourselves better in cyberspace, we need to know how attacks are carried out,” explained Aare Reintam, Project Manager of Technical Exercises in NATO.

”This year we used the mobile network technologies for identifying a target, drone surveillance and 5G sensors for acquiring its location and gathering further information enabling to accomplish the goal. Operations in cyberspace, no matter how vast it is, can reach only as far as it has some form of connectivity,” said Bernhards Blumbergs, cybersecurity expert from CERT.LV.

The exercise was organized by the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence, a NATO-accredited cyber defense hub in Tallinn in partnership with CERT.LV.