NZ braces for Cyber Storm

Simulated infrastructure attacks will test NZ's digital resiliance

New Zealand will join five other countries in facing down Cyber Storm II, a series of simulated attacks against critical digital infrastructure, this coming week.

Officials from New Zealand's Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP) have embargoed a statement on the event until Monday, however, Cyber Storm II was launched in Australia yesterday.

The exercise will test the digital security of New Zealand, Australia, the US, Canada, and the United Kingdom from Monday to Friday this week.

Computerworld broke news of New Zealand's participation in Cyber Storm II last February.

The simulation exercise is led by the US Department of Homeland Security and supported by hundreds of companies and public organisations in the participating countries.

Simulated attacks on digital infrastructure will be role-played nationally and internationally in the exercise, which is an extended rerun of 2006's Cyber Storm exercise.

Computerworld Australia reported yesterday that the Australian Attorney General, Robert McClelland joined UK deputy high commissioner Tim Gurney, Australian Federal Police (AFP) commissioner Mick Keelty and ambassadors from the US and Canada to launch the event in Canberra..

"It's imperative we test our preparedness and response capabilities. This is why we have Cyber Storm II," McClelland said.

"The US defence department detects about three million unauthorised probes of its computer networks everyday. By playing out various real-time scenarios, we can see how we measure up and how we can improve."

Cyber Storm divides participants into attackers and defenders over simulations that test national responsiveness to cyberattacks on IT systems and transportation, communications, and chemical infrastructure.

The first Cyberstorm event involved nine large IT firms, six electricity utility firms (generation transmission and grid operations) and two major airline carriers. The vendors involved were Cisco, Computer Associates, CSC, Microsoft, Symantec and Verisign.

Hundreds of people are understood to be involved in the New Zealand leg of the exercise and thousands worldwide.

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