Locked Shields 2024 demonstrated the real power of cooperative defence

Locked Shields 2024, the world’s most advanced live-fire cyber defence exercise, concluded with an unprecedented twist. Despite the exercise’s competitive nature, participating teams formed a grand coalition by sharing information. They demonstrated that the true power lies in fostering collaboration to enhance collective security rather than competing for the exercise’s victory.

The purpose of the exercise is to help our nations develop their capabilities to face cyber threats as a coalition,” stated Dr Mart Noorma, the Director of the NATO CCDCOE. “We have real threats around us, and most of our participants came out of the trenches of real cyber warfare to participate in Locked Shields. I am confident they will go back defending their nations stronger than ever,” he emphasised.

Locked Shields scoring provides feedback to participating teams to stimulate their further development and benchmarking. The three highest-scoring teams of Locked Shield 2024 are:

  • Latvia, together with a team of NATO entities
  • Finland-Poland
  • Estonia-France

Every year, Locked Shields aims to push the boundaries of what can be achieved in cyber defence training, and 2024 has been no exception,” stated LtCol Urmet Tomp, Director of the exercise. “The skills trained here directly translate to stronger national defences against real-world cyber threats, enhancing our collective security,” he added.

Compared to previous exercises, notable cooperation stories emerged. Initiated and led by Austria-Switzerland and Finland-Poland, Blue Teams formed further coalitions for information sharing on common threats and early warning alerts. Once again showcasing the collaborative spirit of the exercise. 

“International cooperation in cyberspace is the key to success. As the world’s biggest exercise of its kind, Locked Shields is one of the best examples of high-level international cooperation. We are very proud to host it in Estonia and to see how the NATO CCDCOE and the teams involved with its organisation take it to new, successively impressive levels each year,” said Minster of Defence of Estonia Mr Hanno Pevkur.

Locked Shields is made possible thanks to partners in industry and academia: Havelsan, Singapore University of Technology and design, Accenture, FS-ISAC, Fortinet, Clarified Security, AWS, Red Hat, Aselsan, NATO StratCom COE, Siemens, Fujitsu, TalTech, Artic Security, Bittium, CR14, BHC, SpaceIT, Stamus Networks, Forestall, Microsoft, Palo Alto Networks, Estonia Defence Forces, Telia, Atech, Startex Security.

More photos of Locked Shields can be found on CCDCOE Flickr page

Article and photo source: NATO CCDCOE