NATO cyber exercise Locked Shields 2022 launched

NATO cyber exercise Locked Shields 2022 launched

22. April 2022 0 By Horst Buchwald

NATO cyber exercise Locked Shields 2022 launched


Tallinn, 22.4.2022


Detect and repel cyber attacks in real time – this was the motto of NATO’s large-scale, multi-day cyber defense exercise called “Locked Shields” in Tallinn, Estonia.


Defense in cyberspace is part of the Bundeswehr’s range of tasks. Since 2010, this has been trained at the NATO exercise Locked Shields. What is special about the exercise is that the soldiers are confronted with “live fire”. This means that the participants have to detect and defend against cyber attacks in real time.

During this “Live-Fire Cyber Defense Exercise,” attacks on simulated computer networks and information technology systems of critical infrastructure are repelled in real time.

The teams consist of up to 2,000 military and civilian information technology professionals from up to 37 NATO member states. The technical experts and administrators exercise mainly decentralized from their home locations or are assembled at central locations in the participating nations.

The Locked Shields exercise offers the opportunity to train and improve one’s own capabilities, skills and procedures for defending national information technology systems and critical infrastructure in real time. In addition to the technical portions, reporting, decision-making, compliance with legal requirements and media relations are also assessed.

The multinational teams of attackers and defenders compete with each other not only because of their exercise roles. Points or point deductions are awarded to defenders and attackers for detecting and defending against attacks. At the end of the exercise, awards are given to the best teams. There is a special scoring in the “Information Technology Forensics” category.

Here are some sample scenarios:


There’s the case of Berylia. This fictional island nation in the northern Atlantic was the victim of a series of crippling, coordinated cyberattacks , which disrupted the operation of government and military networks, communications, the power grid and water treatment systems.

The simulation of a central bank’s reserve management and financial messaging systems is a first.

Also challenging is the 5G standalone mobile communications platform as part of a critical infrastructure. For the first time, cyber defenders will be able to experience the impending technology shift.

This year’s event is a Red Team versus Blue Team exercise and includes approximately 5,500 virtualized systems exposed to more than 8,000 cyberattacks.

Participating in Locked Shields 2022 are 24 blue teams, averaging 50 experts each, who take on the role of national cyber rapid response teams and must not only secure complex IT systems, but also effectively report incidents and solve forensics, legal, media relations and information warfare challenges.

Last week, the CCDCOE announced that Ukraine has applied for membership and that some of the experts participating in this year’s Locked Shields event are from Ukraine.


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