DHS-led exercises test nation’s response to major cyber attacks

The Department of Homeland Security is leading a series of congressionally mandated exercises to test the nation’s ability to prepare for and respond to a major cyber attack.

Sponsored by the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Level Exercise 2012 includes participants from federal, state local, and territorial agencies, private sector and international partners, according to a DHS news release.

For the past three months, they have worked together to evaluate information sharing capabilities and test their coordination, responsibilities and operational capabilities in response to a major cyber attack or other catastrophic events.

As a part of the exercise, President Obama discussed with his leadership team “the time-sensitive decisions that would have to be made if a significant cyber event affected critical infrastructure systems.”

Later this month federal departments will test their capability to continue operations following a cyber event. Federal agencies suffered 43,889 cyber attacks in 2011, up from 41,776 the previous year, according to a report by the DHS’ U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team.

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