Nato has started a three-day cyber defence exercise in Estonia, in an effort to validate the alliance's readiness to respond to large scale cyber attacks targeting information infra-structures of Nato and partner countries.
Codenamed Cyber Coalition 2013, the three-day exercise involves participation from five partner non-Nato countries, including Austria, Finland, Ireland, Sweden and Switzerland, alongside experts from 28 Nato member nations.
The annual exercise, which is being conducted at the Estonian National Defence College training centre in Tartu, involves approximately 300 cyber defence experts, drawn from national armed forces, law enforcement and relevant ministries of the member countries.
In addition, around 80 experts are working from the military training facility and the European Union (EU) and New Zealand are participating as observers.
Nato Emerging Security Challenges deputy assistant secretary general Jamie Shea said the cyber attacks are a daily reality and are growing in sophistication and complexity.
"NATO has to keep pace with this evolving threat and Cyber Coalition 2013 will allow us to fully test our systems and procedures to effectively defend our networks - today and in the future," Shea said.
The drill is based on an imaginary crisis scenario, which will require action, coordination and collaboration from all participating cyber defence specialists and management bodies to avert simulated cyberattacks.
Cyber Coalition 2013 represents the sixth iteration of the exercise, with the last such drill conducted by Austria, Finland and Sweden from 13 to 16 November 2012.
Image: Cyber Coalition 2013 exercise willl test the Alliance's ability to defend its networks from cyberattacks. Photo: courtesy of NATO.