11 December 2015
Cyber crime specialists from across Europe have converged on the UK to take part in a ground-breaking exercise to test the international response to serious cyber crime.
Exercise Silver Shadow, a multinational exercise run by the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit (NCCU), funded by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and supported by the Home Office, saw officers from eight different countries come together to assess their collective response to a simulated cyber attack on a fictitious international petroleum company.
The aim was to test how investigators and prosecutors would work together in the event of a complex criminal incident spanning several different legal jurisdictions, to ensure an effective response to future cyber crime attacks.
It was also an opportunity to develop stronger operational partnerships between investigation teams and prosecutors.
The exercise took place over a week, starting on Monday 30 November at the Cabinet Office’s Emergency Planning College in North Yorkshire, which is run by Serco. The event platform was a specialist Serco service called cybX, that prepares both private and public sector organisations to prevent and respond to serious cyber attacks.
The countries involved were Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, the UK, represented by the NCA’s NCCU, and the US, represented by the FBI. A representative from Europol’s Joint Cyber Action Taskforce (J-CAT) also took part.
Exercise Silver Shadow follows a pilot event, Exercise Silver Pilot, which was held in October to test and develop the interoperability between the UK’s cyber crime units, notably the NCCU and cyber units within the Regional Organised Crime Units (ROCUs), Police Scotland and the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI).
Director of the NCA’s National Cyber Crime Unit, Jamie Saunders, said:
“Together, Silver Pilot and Silver Shadow form an important part of the NCCU’s efforts to prepare the UK response – at regional, national and international levels – to the ever-changing cyber crime threat.
“Cyber crime is by its very nature international, with many of the criminals and the technical infrastructure they rely upon based overseas, and yet its impact is felt by real people and real businesses in communities across the UK.
“This means that our response has to be capable of linking police colleagues dealing with victims at a local level with law enforcement colleagues in other countries investigating and prosecuting those who may be responsible.
“It is why the NCCU puts strong international partnerships at the heart of our efforts to combat the most serious cyber crime threats to the UK. We have lots of learning to take away, but through this exercise we have demonstrated that, just as the criminals can work across national borders, so can law enforcement.”
Richard Preece, Serco's Director of cybX, said:
“It’s been a privilege to support members of the UK and international law enforcement community. Every day we hear about another cyber-attack; cybX offers organisations a way to ensure their people are properly prepared.
“It’s one thing to invest in the best technology, but organisations must also invest in developing their people and test their capabilities. Serco’s training puts employees from the server room to the board room through their paces, enabling organisations to better prepare for the inevitable cyber-attack.”