DHS offers first take on Cyber Storm exercise
RSA panel offers insight and the occasional real-time censorship moment
IDG News Service - With its latest Cyber Storm II exercise now completed, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security said it expects to release an after-action report analyzing the event, and is now beginning planning for Cyber Storm III in 2010.
Cyber Storm 2 was a week-long cybersecurity simulation that included mock attacks on computer and transportation systems. But the exercise brought in many more players from government and other industries: about 2,500 people from the U.S., U.K., Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
DHS Assistant Secretary for Cyber Security and Communications Gregory Garcia described a typical Cyber Storm II scenario, in an interview at the RSA Conference in San Francisco Wednesday.
"You have a simulated incident that comes in over the e-mail and it may have only to do with the chemical sector at this point. There's an employee in the chemical sector who's arrested," he said. "He was fired the day before and did something to sabotage the network ... so somebody in the chemical sector gets that. 'OK what do I do with that?'"
The exercise even simulated the media's response. "You have mock news reports," Garcia said. "It shows up on the Web as a news story. People are reading that and they have to separate out what's the level of hearsay in the news report."
By participating in Cyber Storm II, emergency response mangers could find out if their plans worked out as expected, and, in particular, if people wound up doing what the planners thought they would do, said Christine Adams, a senior information systems manager at the Dow Chemical Company, speaking during a panel discussion at the conference.
"You think you know how people are going to respond ... but they surprise you sometimes," said Cyber Storm II participant Daniel Lohrmann, the chief information security officer with Michigan's Department of Information Technology.
Anyone looking for the gory details on how successful attackers were during the latest Cyber Storm will have to wait. Because some of the findings from the exercise are sensitive, the DHS doesn't want to discuss specifics until the after-report is issued, and that's not expected to happen until August at the earliest.
Dow Chemical's Adams did offer one example of a lesson learned before she was cut off by her panel's DHS moderator. "It got to the point where our communications capability was somewhat compromised," she said. "We have some work to do around having the means to get priority telecom service if we need it."
Garcia offered one lesson as well: "It's better to exchange business cards now rather than during a crisis," he said. In fact the relationships built during the months of planning ahead of the Cyber Storm II were invaluable, he said. "If the exercise never even took place, I think people would have come away with a much better appreciation of what their vulnerabilities are, what could potentially happen to them, and who they need to connect with in this vast network."
Cyber Storm II was held during the week of March 10. The next event is expected to happen around the same time of year in 2010.
Garcia would like to see more participants and new industry sectors being the "core players" in the next exercise, he said.
- Google I/O 2013's Coolest Products and Services
- 10 Star Trek Technologies That are Almost Here
- 19 Generations of Computer Programmers
- 25 Must-Have Technologies for SMBs
- A walking tour: 33 questions to ask about your company's security
- 15 social media scams
- The 7 elements of a successful security awareness program
- IT Certification Study Tips
- Register for this Computerworld Insider Study Tip guide and gain access to hundreds of premium content articles, cheat sheets, product reviews and more.
- Federal IT Innovation Caught in a Catch-22
- Fed resources shoring up old infrastructure, holding back new technologies.
- Harness IT -- An Introduction to Business Intelligence Solutions
- Learn the key selection criteria required to provide your organization with the capability to address structured data, unstructured data and mobile demands so...
- Business Intelligence Shows its Smarts
- Today's Business Intelligence (BI) tools provide a new way to think about data with self-service capabilities and user-friendly analytics that can be used...
- Proactive Planning for Big Data
- Big data is less about the terabytes and more about the query tools and business intelligence needed to make sense of massive amounts...
- Inquiry Spotlight: Consumer-Facing Identity
- The challenges of consumer-facing identity management, access management, and authentication differ in ways subtle and dramatic from those of the employee-facing variety. All Government IT White Papers
- Becoming An Analytics Driven Organization
- Join us on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, 11:00 AM EDT and learn how your agency can create an analytics culture that will enable...
- 3 Reasons Why Sepaton is the World's Fastest Backup Solution
- Leading analyst, Storage Switzerland learns how Sepaton backs up and deduplicates massive data volumes while maintaining the industry's fastest performance - all in...
- Enterprise File Sharing: All You Need to Know
- Security. Scalability. Control. These are just some of the many benefits of enterprise cloud file-sharing that you'll discover in this KnowledgeVault, packed with...
- Bridging HTTP and FTP with FileXpress Internet Server
- What if you could take an FTP server on your internal network, and allow external users (partners or customers) to securely access it...
- MFT and FileXpress - An Overview
- Business users and applications exchange files on a regular basis. File transfer is a core part of the flow of business activity. All Government IT Webcasts