Practice Makes Prevention

Justin Hall

Category: Cybersecurity

A version of the below excerpted article originally appeared in World Economic Forum.

What do rugby and cybersecurity have in common? Not much. However, maintaining composure in the face of an oncoming defender and strategically addressing cyber threats can both be improved with consistent and adequate practice.

In a recent article for the World Economic Forum, William H. Saito applauded a tabletop exercise conducted at October’s Cyber3 conference in Tokyo. The activity was designed to help government agencies, businesses and other stakeholders understand, coordinate and better respond to potential cyber threats to information flows and critical infrastructures during a large national event.

With the 2019 Rugby World Cup as the backdrop for this exercise, teams of 8-10 had to develop strategies to address the following cybersecurity scenarios:

  1. Phishing e-mails to acquire access to critical industrial control systems
  2. Disruption of the power grid based on network access gained from these e-mails
  3. Distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks against the Rugby World Cup website and related internet addresses

Although different approaches and strategies were utilized during this exercise, Saito notes that the most effective participants communicated rapidly with partners, shared information, and formed conclusions effective enough to mitigate the exercise’s DDoS attacks and power grid disruption.

This exercise demonstrated how highly detailed simulations can be used to develop situational awareness as events unfold, helping participants understand how individual pieces of an incident, like phishing, can transition into something larger like a power grid disruption.

For Saito, the importance of real-world training scenarios cannot be underscored enough. He argues that organizations must adopt training tools including cyber ranges, testing and other resources to be included in an overall prevention-focused strategy.

Read the rest of William Saito’s article at

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