The Brazilian armed forces in the largest cyber defense exercise in the world

The Brazilian Army, Navy and Air Force have taken another step in the development of cyber defense technologies. By last Thursday, April 15th, they participated in the world’s largest and most complex international double-action cyber defense (attack versus defense) exercise, Locked Shields. The Brazilian participation was carried out by the Cyber ​​Defense Command (ComDCiber) in Fort Marechal Rondon in Brasilia.

The exercise was organized by the Center of Excellence for Cooperative Cyber ​​Defense (CCDCOE), a body affiliated with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). It was conducted remotely and brought together more than 2,000 cyber experts from 32 countries. The only representative from Latin America, Brazil, was part of the technical support from the Portuguese team. The two countries interacted in real time via video conference.

This participation by Brazil differs from the last one in 2019. In 2021, Brazil was invited to assemble its own strategic team, bringing together cybernetics experts from the three armed forces and representatives from government agencies and organizations related to exercise-related infrastructure. Activities included ComDCiber, the Army Social Communication Center (CCOMSEx), the Air Force Aerospace Operations Command, the Institutional Security Office, the Department of Defense, the Department of State, the National Water Agency (ANA), and the National Telecommunications Agency. (Anatel).

The Chief of Land Operations Command, Army General Jos Luiz Dias Freitas, highlighted the integration that marked the exercise. All government or private stakeholders need cyber defense. It is important that we can integrate and improve the development and planning of teaching in potential crisis situations. Practice is the ideal time to practice and develop our teaching.

The Head of the Ministry of Science and Technology (DCT) and former Cyber ​​Defense Commander General Guido Amin pointed out that because of the characteristics of the cyber area, Brazil can compete with the most developed countries in terms of the area’s security capabilities in terms of security capabilities can. “It is possible to invest resources that are not that great, and yet we can significantly narrow this gap between our country and the more developed countries in other military capabilities.”

The current Cyber ​​Defense Commander, Divisional General Heber García, also stressed the importance of the exercise for the technical improvement of national defense. This activity will contribute to the maturity of the cyber sector and the improvement of military cyber defense capabilities, and will work with the exchange of experience between national agencies and between countries participating in the exercise.

The chief of ComDCiber’s joint chiefs of staff, Rear Admiral Rudicley Cantarin, highlighted the high technical demands of the activity. It is a unique opportunity for the participating countries to exercise their cyber skills in a safe environment and against a very high level opponent. This favors interaction in the defense of the civil and military systems in an environment of mutual cooperation.

The opportunity to learn more about cybersecurity in the exercise was highlighted by the Air Force Aviation Task Force representative, Major Carla Borges. The activity allows us to know the possibilities of disruption that a cyber attack can cause either in the army or across the country. Second Sergeant Leandro Souza of the Navy noted that Locked Shields provided the ability to conduct procedures that would be used in really critical situations. We protected the network by fixing incidents, server vulnerabilities, user errors, improper installations, and checking suspects. Our job was to fight the first fight and report everything to the upper levels as if it were the real world.

The exercise was based on a simulated conflict between two fictional countries. The proposed situations brought to light various possibilities of the current reality, such as the threat of deepfakes, the instability of the financial system and the changes caused by the Covid-19 crisis, such as the growth of automation and remote working. Over the year, 5,000 virtual systems were the target of more than 4,000 cyberattacks. In addition to defending the systems, the participants had to face simulations of legal and medical problems. (Javier Bonilla)

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