Ukraine hosts large-scale simulation of cyberattack on energy grid

Adam Bannister December 17, 2021 at 15:57 UTC

Updated: December 17, 2021 at 16:20 UTC

SANS Institute’s latest Grid NetWars competition involved 250 security professionals from Ukraine

Cyber ​​security professionals from across Ukraine tackled a full-scale cyberattack simulation with echoes of the hugely damaging real-world attack on the country’s power grid in 2015.

Comprising 250 participants, 49 teams competed – virtually or in person at a site in Kiev – to rack up points by remedying an attack on a fictitious energy supplier after suffering several unexplained system failures.

For five and a half hours, security professionals from the Ukrainian public and private sectors and higher education institutions sought to determine the nature of a compromised malicious network before expelling the intruder and restoring normal functioning of the networks. systems.

Learn about the latest critical infrastructure security news

The winning team was Berezha Security Group, based in Kiev, while cybersecurity engineer Dmitry Korzhevin was the top performing competitor participating as an individual.

The competition, which took place on December 2, was the US training organization’s SANS Institute’s last Grid NetWars tournament, with recent tournaments also taking place in Singapore, India, Japan and Australia.

The event was also organized by the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, the State Service for Special Protection of Communication and Information and the Critical Cyber ​​Security Infrastructure Project for the Agency United States for International Development (USAID).

” Close to reality “

“Every day 560,000 new malware are detected worldwide, so there is a need to constantly improve the skills and ‘pump’ the skills of cybersecurity specialists,” said Ihor Malchenyuk, head of regulatory support. in cybersecurity and institutional development at USAID Cybersecurity for Critical. Infrastructure project in Ukraine.

“Competitions such as Grid NetWars provide an opportunity to practice not only the knowledge and skills of each specialist separately, but also to form a joint interaction,” he added. “After all, the training conditions are as close to reality as possible.”

Tim Conway, technical director of industrial control systems (ICS) and supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) programs at SANS, mentored event attendees with the help of two other infosec experts based in the USA.

“Practice their way of playing”

“Grid NetWars is a product that has been around for a number of years and has been used in country level exercises since its inception,” said Conway. The daily sip.

“It has also been used by practitioners around the world attending events specific to critical infrastructure or industrial control systems, such as the SANS ICS Summit where Grid NetWars competitions are held in the evenings after class. “

The last event held in Ukraine allowed “participants to tackle real-world challenges, develop skills, get acquainted with technical tools and, most importantly,“ practice their way of playing ”through collaboration, and a provided the opportunity to work together in teams just as they would in a real world incident response, ”he added.

Conway helped investigate the 2015 attack on three Ukrainian electricity distribution centers that left around 225,000 residents without power for six hours.

The country’s energy grid was hit again a year later, and then Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko said thousands of recent attacks on public institutions were proof that the Russian security services were carrying out. a cyber war against the country.

YOU MAY ALSO LIKE Superior Plus propane distributor admits ransomware breach

Comments are closed.