Cyber Storm II underway from DHS

To strengthen the nation's cybersecurity preparedness, the federal Department of Homeland Security (DHS) this week is holding its second Cyber Storm event, a five-day exercise for government agencies and businesses.

“Cyber Storm II is intended to act as a catalyst for assessing communications, coordination and partnerships across critical infrastructure sectors,” a report said. “To accomplish this, Cyber
Storm II is a distributed exercise that allows players around the world to exercise from their own office locations.”

Participants will receive “injects” that will simulate adverse effects through which participants can exercise their cybercrisis response systems, policies and procedures. 

The exercise involves more than 100 participants from a number of government agencies, private sector companies, individual states and five countries.

“Exercising our state capacity to handle telecommunications and IT infrastructure issues has helped in the development of our state enterprise security plan,” Krista Piferrer, a spokeswoman for Texas Gov. Rick Perry, told on Tuesday.

Brendah Orth, deputy secretary for information technology for the state of Pennsylvania, said the program will help the state develop better crisis communication among agencies.

“It's critical to test our existing response procedures and communication links between agencies so that we can best determine our strengths and weaknesses and identify any possible policy or process gaps in our incident management," she said.

The DHS says that the primary objectives of Cyber Storm II include improved cyberincident response, coordination and information-sharing.

The inaugural Cyber Storm took place in 2006. Microsoft took part in the original exercise and is participating again.

“We think it's important to develop global incident response capabilities that enable public and private sector stakeholders to rapidly convene and respond to threats. The information sharing that goes on during Cyber Storm is a great step in that direction,” said Jerry Cochran, principal security strategist in the Trustworthy Computing Group at Microsoft Corp.

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