Australia is scheduled to unleash Cyber Storm, an official exercise aimed at testing how businesses, government departments and spy agencies would respond in the event of a coordinated cyber attack, The Age reports.
Approximately 50 organizations are expected to participate in the Australian arm of the exercise, the third and biggest in a series testing national responses to major cyber attacks.
Officials were concerned about maintaining the drill’s security and would not reveal when the exercise will begin, a department spokesman told The Age.
The exercise, organized by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, would be the third Cyber Storm released. Cyber Storm I was based on a scenario in which a coalition of anti-globalization activists paralyzed U.S. and Canadian computer systems by cutting power supplies, and disrupting ports and airlines, and compromising intelligence communications.
Cyber Storm II was based on a similar scenario, with simulated cyber assaults by a group with a political agenda and the time, money and motivation to penetrate any network.
While no real operations were impacted, information systems virtually disintegrated during the exercise, as IT managers scrambled to cope.
Steven Stroud, director of Cyber Storm II, told an industry conference that participants were surprised by how much damage the attacks inflicted, although they were aware of the risks.
”If you hit your hand with a hammer, it’s going to hurt. In Cyber Storm, a lot of people hit their hand with a hammer and were surprised that it hurt,” he was quoted as saying by The Age.
Cyber Storm III, which also involves Britain, Canada and New Zealand, is the latest sign of how seriously governments worldwide perceive the risk of cyber attack.