Royal Navy carries out cyber attack exercises

The Royal Navy and Ukrainian cyber warfare experts fended off virtual attacks to national infrastructure during a large-scale cyber battle exercise in Estonia.

34 teams from 11 nations tested their cyber defence skills during the organised Defence Cyber Marvel 2 in Tallinn, which included personnel from around the globe including Ukraine, US, Japan, Singapore, Kenya and OMan.

The Royal Navy’s cyber operations specialists, who are based in Portsmouth, are usually on the virtual front lines around the world, protecting ships and RN bases from threats around the clock.

In the exercise, the Royal Navy and Ukraine team were judged to be the most improved at the end of the week-long exercises, which were run as a competition as participants were judged on their effectiveness and speed.

“Hosting and supporting the Ukrainian cyber team has been an experience not to be forgotten,” said Chief Petty Officer Roger Brand, Royal Navy Maritime C5ISR Support Unit (MCSU) Cyber Protection Team Leader. “Talking with my Ukrainian counterpart we discovered this exercise was based very, very closely on the real world events a year ago.

“Tradecraft, ideas and knowledge were freely shared, friendships developed and will no doubt continue in what has been an excellent exercise. I look forward to DCM3 with an Indo-Pacific focus next year.”

Many teams were based in their home countries but were connected virtually to a cyber range controlled in Tallinn, where the Royal Navy Cyber Protection Team from the Maritime C5ISR Support Unit (MCSU) were based throughout the exercises.

The unit delivers 24/7 defensive monitoring of networks from the RN Cyber Security Operating Centre on Portsdown Hill.

“Events like Defence Cyber Marvel showcase the talent we already have in Defence. They get to exercise and learn with folk from a vast array of different nations, backgrounds and specialisations – all united by a common purpose – to hone their skills to a fine edge, in order to protect our people, our prosperity and our principles,” said Lieutenant General Tom Copinger-Symes, Deputy Commander Strategic Command. “At UK Strategic Command we’re committed to finding and nurturing individuals with those skills, especially those who are about to finish their studies and are eager for a unique challenge on the front-line of UK’s defence.”

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