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 EU and banks stage DDoS cyber-attack exercise

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Date posted: 04/10/2012

The European Union is hosting what it describes as its biggest cybersecurity exercise.

Governments, businesses and ISPs (internet service providers) are being faced with 1,200 separate incidents during a simulated DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack.

A similar event was staged in 2010, but this is the first time that the bloc's banks have been involved.

The results will be used to find ways to improve co-operation.

However, one computer security expert warned that the effort would be of only limited use when it came to protecting organisations against real-world attacks.

Enisa (European Network and Information Security Agency), which is co-ordinating the event, said 25 nations were actively participating in the practice run, and a further four countries were observing. But it would not specify the names of the states or organisations involved.

"We want to test how member states co-operate with each other during a crisis," Evangelos Ouzounis, head of Enisa's resilience and critical information infrastructure unit, told the BBC.

"We have developed some draft operating procedures over the last two years and we would like to test how they are applied in a crisis. We hope that after the exercise we can then identify any gaps in the information flow, and by improving them we can become stronger."

The event centres on a DDoS attack in which a mass of third-party computers attempt to overwhelm their targets' servers, forcing their websites offline and potentially disrupting their operations.

This type of attack has been used over recent months by members of the Anonymous hacktivist collective and others as a form of protest against companies and authorities whose actions they dislike.

"This goes to show that DDoS attacks have gone from a minor annoyance carried out by bedroom hackers to a serious security threat that Enisa feels the need to be addressed," said Paul Lawrence, vice-president of international operations at Corero Network Security.

See the full Story via external site: www.bbc.co.uk

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