Named Cyber Storm III, the exercise is supposed to start today and last three or four days - depending on the response to the "attack". A complex but dynamic scenario that will be changing according to the various actions and decisions the players should provide a realistic assessment of the defensive capabilities that federal departments, intelligence agencies, private sector companies, various states and international partners can mobilize in the time of need.
Brett Lambo, director of DHS' National Cyber Security Division's cyber exercise program hopes that this test will reveal all the weak links in the response process, and whether the things they plan on doing constitute the right way to go about the business of national cyber defense. "The point of an exercise like this is to lay yourself bare a little bit and get to the point where you break certain things," he revealed to InformationWeek.
Another goal of this exercise is to see if the government and the private sector (especially those companies that manage critical infrastructure) can work together towards the common goal of keeping systems running.
Cyber Storm III participants, located in their real-world offices, will be receiving information and tools from the Secret Service headquarters. The information will be including fake log data and event history, and the tools might take form of drives infected with malware. Of course, many details about the exercise must remain secret until the very end, so that the players don't form any expectations about its course.
The scenario has been developed to reflect the various possibilities and evolving threats that characterize today's cyber world. According to Lambo, the threats will not affect only uptime but also integrity. "We’re trying to upset the chain of trust. We're basically using the Internet against itself," he said.