EU Prepping Large-Scale Cyber Drills Amid Supply Chain Jitters - Report

The European Union is preparing to kick off a month-and-a-half-long exercise this week, simulating cyberattacks on member states’ supply chains, Bloomberg reports, citing documents and sources said to be familiar with the plans.

The exercise, which has yet to be announced publicly, is said to have been proposed by the French presidency of the EU, and will reportedly include drilling the coordination of communications and the bloc’s diplomatic response, with the ultimate goal being to improve joint training and strengthen preparedness.

A document related to the drill cited by the business outlet pointed to the SolarWinds hack targeting multiple government agencies and private companies in the US and Europe in 2020 as an example of things to look out for. The United States blamed Russian actors for that hack attack to justify new sanctions against Moscow in early 2021. Russian officials slammed Washington over the restrictions, citing the utter lack of evidence that Moscow was involved.

The document also reportedly pointed to the lack of a framework for a coordinated joint European response to a major crisis that might spark attacks on supply chains. The drill is expected to simulate the gradual escalation of a crisis, culminating in armed aggression.

The EU’s simulation, Bloomberg says, comes amid new concerns that Russia could “couple” aggression against Ukraine with cyberattacks on the West. Moscow has repeatedly denied having any plans to “attack” any nation despite the Western media and Ukrainian officials spending months banging on war drums over Ukraine.

The crisis in relations between Russia and the West over Ukraine took on a cyber dimension last month, with US media reporting that the United States and Britain had sent cyberwarfare teams to Kiev, ostensibly to assist in the “defence” of the country’s electrical grid, banking system and other vital infrastructure.

In November, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre – the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ)-subordinated entity tasked with tackling cybersecurity threats to Britain, reported a new record in hack attacks against the island nation, blaming the usual suspects, Russia, China, Iran and North Korea, for the cyber malevolence.

The US and its European allies have repeatedly accused Moscow, Beijing and others of involvement in a broad range of malicious activities online, using the purported attacks to justify sanctions, trade restrictions, and other real-world penalties. The accused typically dismiss the claims, occasionally charging Washington and others of psyops and false flags. It’s hard to say with 100 percent certainty who is telling the truth. However, WikiLeaks’ revelation in 2017 that the Central Intelligence Agency had developed a software package known as the ‘Marble Framework’ capable of obfuscating the true source of an attack makes it extremely difficult to determine its true origins, particularly as America’s rivals are likely to possess similar technologies.

The EU’s cyber jitters come as the world continues to feel the impacts of a global supply chain crisis blamed on Covid. The crisis has caused regional shortages of food, various consumer goods, components for various high-value goods, such as smartphones and automobiles, queues of container ships at major ports, and extended wait times for delivery of major purchases. The shortages have caused a spike in prices and inflation in many countries, with authorities and economists accusing some businesses of deliberately jacking up prices to try to make a buck off the emergency.

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