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First national exercise on cyber security at nuclear facilities

SNSA organized a first national exercise on cyber security at nuclear facilities KIVA2019. Exercise was attended by participants from all key stakeholders in nuclear sector: nuclear facility operators, competent authorities, technical support organizations and suppliers of computer equipment. Beside participants, exercise was attended by external observers from Faculty of Criminal Justice and Security, Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Public Administration – Directorate of Informatics. Exercise was developed based on SNSA experience in this field and research of doctoral student Samo Tomažič. Main purpose of the exercise was to validate a comprehensive response model to cyber-attacks at nuclear facilities, which was built during the Research itself. Exercise enabled us to verify internal procedures of all stakeholders, check the communication, reporting, offering help and cooperating during the cyber-attack at nuclear facility.

Exercise revealed several areas, where there are still possibilities for improvement. At the end of the exercise, there was a hotwash, where participants shared their opinions and exchanged experiences. During the exercise, participants validated and verified a response model to cyber-attacks at nuclear facilities, and highlighted strengths and weaknesses of the current state of cyber security in nuclear sector. Unanimously, stakeholders recognized a need for harmonization of response to such incidents and to set appropriate protocols. Stakeholders also stated the importance of such exercises and highlighted the need to continue working on this topic in the future. KIVA2019 represents a good starting point for conducting such exercises in the future, especially because the number of cyber-attacks is increasing, they are becoming more and more sophisticated, attackers are motivated and focused also on nuclear sector.