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Dive Into A Cyber-Attack Disaster Simulation With IBM’s X-Force Command

IBM’s “X-Force Command” semi-trailer, a veritable cyber-warfare operations centre, is coming over to Europe to raise awareness of cyber issues among business leaders.
by: Delphine Sabattier
photo: IBM
featured: “X-Force Command” cyber tactical operations centre by IBM Security

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We definitely did not expect a 23-ton trailer equipped with 20 multi-screen workstations and a giant 4K video wall that too in a deserted parking area. On its side, the inscriptions “X-Force Command cyber tactical operations centre, IBM Security” confirm the address is correct. The invitation simply reads: “Discover the market’s first mobile tactical cyber security operations centre”. At the entrance, the X-Force experts explain what it is all about: everyone who enters will go through a crisis simulation behind closed doors. Together, they will face a cyber-attack of more than three hours and each person will be assigned a role.

At the simulation, several critical departments of a fictitious company are represented: IT, legal, management, communication and human resources. Suddenly, one of the landline telephones at our tables starts ringing. We learn that there is a flaw in our computer system. Is that right? Wrong? The alarm signals then follow one after the other: the personal data of 75 million customers have been disclosed on the Internet; a transfer of 2.5 million euros has gone into an account whose owner is unknown… Then comes the anxiety: customers we invited to a conference find themselves stuck in the elevators; a skull and crossbones appears with a message demanding a Bitcoin ransom for their release. Panicked tweets flood in.

“To act quickly, there’s no secret: you have to train.”

Who takes the lead when it comes to crisis management? Which decisions should be implemented first? What can be communicated internally and externally? We are under stress and yet we have to find solutions, prioritize, and keep control…

“To act quickly, there’s no secret: you have to train,” reassures the man at the controls. For him, it’s obvious: Every company should have a procedural guide to follow in the event of an emergency, to know who to contact under which circumstances, what to initiate, and which nerve centres to protect at all costs…In a worldwide survey conducted in 2018 by Ponemon Institute for IBM on the level of preparedness of organizations in terms of resistance to a cyber attack, 77% of respondents indicated that they do not have a coordinated incident response plan. And, of those organisations that do have an action plan, 54% do not test it. The IBM truck, meanwhile, continues to criss-cross Europe, hoping to raise awareness of best practices and change the status quo.

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