news 2.10.2023

National cyber exercise tests the skills of security authorities

JYVSECTEC, the Cyber Security Research, Development and Training Centre of Jamk University of Applied Sciences organised the largest cyber exercise of history on 25.–29. September 2023. More than 200 people from nearly 20 organisations took part in the exercise.

Tero Kokkonen ja Rauli Paananen

Traficom's National Cyber Security Centre of Ministry of Transport and Communication, the Police, the Finnish Defence Forces, the Finnish Border Guards and the Finnish Customs are examples of authorities whose services are needed by society on a daily basis. These reliable pillars of our society respond to the threats of today's society with experience and expertise that is honed and refined year by year.

Every year, security authorities participate in a cyber exercise organised by JYVSECTEC, which is one of the most effective ways to maintain technical and operational network skills, and response capabilities in case of serious network disruptions.

"The current situation emphasises cyber security expertise and preparedness, which have become a necessary part of ensuring a functioning society. All authorities are now required to review their own practices and, above all, to cooperate,” says director Pekka Jokinen from Traficom's National Cyber Security Centre.

In a closed environment, you can safely train for cyberattacks

This year, the week-long cyber exercise was led by Rauli Paananen, Director of State Cyber Security, and Tero Kokkonen, Director of the Institute of Information Technology at Jamk University of Applied Sciences.

The exercise was carried out in the unique RGCE (Realistic Global Cyber Environment) exercise environment developed by JYVSECTEC. Critical digital functions, systems and services for society were modelled into the environment, and in addition the technology of each participating organisation. In a realistic environment completely closed from the real world, you can safely train against cyberattacks.

"In this week's exercise, the state actor sought to influence numerous official actors, such as the Police, the Finnish Defence Forces and the Finnish Border Guard, through several different routes. The situation can only be overcome by combining information, which requires strong cooperation between actors," says Rauli Paananen.

Cooperation is one of the key exercises of the cyber exercise

More than 200 people from nearly 20 organisations participated in the largest technical and operational exercise in history. The exercise was also attended by the state's "cyber fist", whose task is, among other things, to ensure that the national responsible actors participating in the exercise have a consistent situational picture of the state of cyber security in society. Cooperation and information sharing between organisations is one of the key issues to be practiced in the national cyber exercise.

"We have been conducting national cyber exercises since 2013. The exercise is updated every year to reflect threats based on the current situation, and the threat activities carried out for the exercise always utilise the latest attack vectors and attack techniques in the real world. Year after year, the two most important things to practice remain unchanged; technical know-how and practical training cooperation between different organisations," says Tero Kokkonen.

The national cyber exercise was made possible by the Ministry of Transport and Communications, and the Security Committee also participated in the implementation.

More information

Tero Kokkonen

Johtaja IT-instituutti, Director Institute of Information Technology
IT-Instituutti, Institute of Information Technology
Teknologia, School of Technology