FS-ISAC leads the financial sector in live-fire cyber exercise locked shields

Steven Silberstein, Chief Executive Officer of FS-ISAC

FS-ISAC, the global cyber intelligence sharing community solely focused on financial services, announced that it will lead the financial services sector scenario in NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence (CCDCOE) Exercise Locked Shields this year, the world’s largest and most complex live-fire cyber exercise, taking place 19-22 April, 2022.

What happens at Locked Shields?

Locked Shields facilitates systematic, multi-sector, public-private cyber defense cooperation and coordination to prepare against nation-state threats. The exercise, held annually since 2010, tests national, civilian, and military IT systems’ ability to protect vital infrastructure by simulating a series of realistic, large-scale cyber attacks against a fictional country.

“Cooperation at this scale reflects the interdependencies of all critical infrastructure sectors and the public sector. Leading the financial sector scenario is a natural extension of our role in promoting information sharing and collective defense to strengthen the resiliency of the global financial system,” said Steven Silberstein, Chief Executive Officer of FS-ISAC.

“Locked Shields help build the muscle memory to respond to real world cyber attacks. While the scenarios are not specifically tied to the current conflict, exercise planners look to integrate cyber threat actor tactics, techniques, and procedures, so that teams upgrade their response capabilities,” said Teresa Walsh, Global Head of Intelligence at FS-ISAC.

What is the purpose of the Locked Shields simulation?

FS-ISAC convened a Scenario Expert Planning Group comprised of member firms like Mastercard and Santander, among others, to inform the financial services sector scenario.

“In cybersecurity, you don’t want to invent something new right in the middle of a crisis. That’s the value of large-scale, cross-border exercises like Locked Shields. They give both the public and private sectors an opportunity to test, analyze, and enhance our response capabilities in a real-world environment,” said Ron Green, Chief Security Officer, Mastercard.

“We’re able to see how collaboration and information sharing can help us to address cyber threats more efficiently. Together, we are stronger,” Green further commented.

“Locked Shields continually strives to address the most pressing needs of our nations by emulating current challenges faced by leaders in the cyber domain,” said Colonel Jaak Tarien, Director of the CCDCOE, a NATO-affiliated cyber defense hub.

“Partnerships, like with FS-ISAC, allow us to include not only technical but strategic decision-making elements to better prepare national leadership for large-scale incident response.”

Locked Shields is the most complex global, live-fire cyber defense exercise. It includes 2000 participants from 32 countries, with over 5000 virtualized systems subject to over 8000 attacks. In addition to securing IT systems, teams must effectively report incidents, have strategic decision making, and solve forensic, media and information operations challenges.

For more information about FS-ISAC’s exercise program, click here.