[T]he alliance this week conducted the world’s biggest digital war game. . . .
More than 670 soldiers and civilians – from 80 organisations in 28 countries – participated, making it more than twice the size of any previous Nato cyber drill. . . .
From barracks in Tartu, a team of around 100 soldiers and intelligence officials on Monday began throwing sophisticated technical attacks at Nato teams across Europe and North America: Troops’ android phones were hacked after a downloadable app turned out be hiding sophisticated malware; an imaginary supplier of military equipment was found to have had its own manufacturing process compromised, with security loopholes built into its computer chips; a Nato emergency response team was flown to Greece after one scenario in which the attackers succeeded in seizing control of the systems running Nato’s Awacs surveillance aircraft – one of the alliance’s most prized possessions. . . .
Officially, the attacker was meant to be disrupting a Nato mission in a fictitious, war-torn state in the Horn of Africa. In reality, the scenario was a thinly disguised version of the threats confronting the alliance as a result of the crisis in Ukraine. Russia, though never mentioned, loomed large.
In one simulated attack, for example, the classified communications of the general in charge of the fictitious Nato deployment were hacked. The hackers then leaked the information to a global newspaper, which promptly published the Nato military chief’s private declaration that the war was unwinnable.
That was eerily reminiscent of an episode in Kiev in February when a candid conversation between US assistant secretary of state Victoria Nuland and Washington’s ambassador to Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt, was secretly recorded and leaked to the press.