DHS tests cyber response plan in global drill

Cyber Storm III engages 7 federal agencies, 11 states, 12 other countries

The Homeland Security Department today led its first test of the National Cyber Incident Response Plan as part of the global Cyber Storm III three-day cybersecurity preparedness drill.

Seven federal agencies, 11 states, 12 other countries and 60 private companies are participating in the simulated exercise meant to test authorities’ readiness for large-scale attacks against the Internet and other IT infrastructure.

Cyber Storm III also represents the first major drill that uses the new National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center in Arlington, Va., which opened in October 2009 as the hub for national cyber response.


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"Exercises like Cyber Storm III allow us build upon the significant progress we’ve made in responding to evolving cyber threats,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano said in a news release.

In the three-day simulated attack, which began Sept. 27 and ends Sept. 30, participants are responding to more than 1,000 scripted events in real time. Brett Lambo, director of the Homeland Security Department’s cybersecurity exercise program, described the scenario to reporters recently as “the Internet attacking itself.”

The participants include:

  • The Commerce, Defense, Energy, Justice, Transportation and Treasury departments, the White House, and representatives from the intelligence and law enforcement communities.
  • California, Delaware, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, North Carolina, New York, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington state.
  • Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom.
  • Sixty companies in the banking, chemical, communications, defense, nuclear, IT, transportation and water sectors.

About the Author

Alice Lipowicz is a staff writer covering government 2.0, homeland security and other IT policies for Federal Computer Week.

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