One cross-sector team prevails at the DHS cyberwar games, but everyone’s a winner

By Stephen Easton

Monday September 9, 2019

Picture: Getty Images

This year’s cyberwar games were won by a team of information security experts from the Defence and Home Affairs departments, Ausgrid, Transgrid, Insurance Australia Group, Vodafone and Woodside Energy.

Minister for Government Services Stuart Robert says cooperation was the name of the game as five teams took on the role of the bad guys last week and worked together to cause as much mayhem as possible for a small city made of Lego bricks.

“This exercise is more than just a competition and aims to solidify relationships between cyber experts from government and business that will be essential in the event of a real attack,” Robert said in a statement.

“Australians can have confidence that, in the event of a major cyber-attack, the Australian government and private organisations can work together effectively to stop hackers in their tracks and protect our nation’s critical infrastructure.”

The teams took turns launching their attacks on the target city, which is the visual centrepiece of a “cyber range” at the DHS offices in Canberra’s southern suburb of Greenway. In this year’s scenario, all five teams had to form a coalition of attackers working from different locations. “Players then split into groups based on skills, and were able to make more progress as an organised unit,” according to the minister’s statement.

“After a gruelling three-day battle, teams were finally able to disrupt Shell Cove’s critical infrastructure and wreak havoc on the city’s transport, energy, emergency services and finance sectors.

“However, only one team could take out the top prize and the panel of expert adjudicators selected this year’s champions based on their team work, communication, planning, critical thinking and creativity.

“Over the course of this year’s games there were 46 players and judges and about 100 spectators, who all came away with new relationships and a deeper understanding of Australia cyber capabilities.”

Read more: Hacking groups — including public servants — join forces to attack city’s critical infrastructure

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