Director of SK-CERT: The NATO exercise should prepare us for everything

Several Slovak security forces, including the National Security Authority, the Slovak Information Service, the Military Intelligence, as well as the government unit, are utilising various mechanisms and procedures of common cyber defence these days together with colleagues from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

The Cyber Coalition runs from 16 to 20 November and is a flagship of NATO’s cyber defence exercises. Slovakia has been regularly participating in the exercise for almost a decade – along with 24 other countries, plus four partner states and four observer states.

The Cyber Coalition is always a highlight of the year in the field of international cyber defence. Respective member states of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization organize several meetings and conferences during the year to discuss the terms and details of this exercise.

The first meeting took place at the beginning of March; the exercise command was in Estonia on the so-called cyber shooting range. Thanks to the thorough preparation of technical teams, approximately 1000 participants had the opportunity to work in a simulated network, collect forensic data, perform malware analysis and actively defend against cyberattacks; and all this in a controlled environment.

“NATO critics also criticize this exercise for being targeted on Russia. In fact, the exercise has to respond to any attacks, no matter where they come from,” said Rastislav Janota, the director of the National Cyber Security Centre SK-CERT.

Participants practise in particular communication skills, technical procedures in handling cyber incidents or strategic decision-making. The exercise on the Slovak side is carried out under the auspices of the National Cyber Security Centre SK-CERT, which on a regular basis invites experts from security forces and selected state authorities.

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