Cyber-security experts from the US and European Union met in Brussels, Belgium today to conduct tests on the West’s readiness to handle cyber attacks.

Two hypothetical scenarios were played out during the Cyber Atlantic 2011 event. The first was seemingly aimed at defence against the likes of Anonymous and Lulzsec, while the second dealt with a potential failure in essential utility systems.

  • The first saw a hacker group, which has been active for several years, launching a cyber-attack to extract sensitive information and publishing this data online. In the scenario, several cyber security agencies had been monitoring the group closely for over a year. This led to cooperation between European countries which successfully defended against the attack. The US cooperated with the affected countries in case it too was targeted.
  • In the second scenario, a failure in an EU wind turbine’s SCADA (supervisory control and data acquisition) systems monitor and control essential processes that keep water, oil, gas and electrical power systems operating. The EU requested assistance from the US, as many SCADA systems come from there.

Today’s event followed an agreement between the EU and US in November 2010 to collaborate on cyber-security issues. Expert groups from both sides of the Atlantic work together on cyber incident management; public-private partnerships; awareness raising and cybercrime.

The exercises today take place in the same week as the London Conference on Cyberspace, organised by the UK government in order to discuss a wide range of Internet-related issues, including cyber-crime and international security.