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New Zealand organizations will find their online defenses tested for the first time in a huge international cyber-security exercise being coordinated by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security next year. Private and public-sector organizations will be involved in next March’s Cyber Storm II attack simulation, along with organizations in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. The exercise will simulate, on a private network, a series of hacking and “cyber-terrorism events” attempted via the Internet. Nothing of a dangerous nature will be attempted on live networks, said Richard Byfield of the Centre for Critical Infrastructure Protection (CCIP), which will coordinate the local part of the exercise. The first Cyber Storm simulation took place in March 2006, but New Zealand’s involvement was small, just a “table-top” exercise, with simulations of escalating events being represented on paper. This time, there will be an online portal, where scenarios appropriate to the country’s national security will be played out.

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