GSDF hosts multinational war games over cyber-attacks

Jiji Press
Maj. Gen. Yoshiki Adachi makes a remark to start the war games in Tokyo on Tuesday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — The Ground Self-Defense Force on Tuesday hosted a multinational drill for dealing with cyber-attacks, which are becoming increasingly sophisticated.

It is the first cyberwar games hosted by the GSDF in which participants actually respond to attacks, and the first involving multiple nations. The GSDF sought to improve its capabilities to deal with cyber-attacks through the event.

Cyberwarfare personnel from the armed forces of the United States, Australia, France, Vietnam, the Philippines and Indonesia, as well as 10 teams from the Ground, Maritime and Air Self-Defense Forces and the National Defense Academy, took part in the games.

It simulated a situation in which a defense agency was targeted by a cyber-attack seeking to hijack its system or obtain information. The host carried out an attack on servers, and participants competed over the methods and ideas for detecting attacks, grasping the scope of damage and restoring server functions.

In the opening ceremony held online, Maj. Gen. Yoshiki Adachi, head of the Ground Staff Office’s communications system and intelligence department, emphasized the importance of cooperation among countries.

“In modern warfare, also called hybrid warfare, cyber-attacks are a convenient method of attack,” he told reporters. “We want to develop multinational cooperation through the event.”

The importance of information network defense, crucial to managing troops, is increasing. In its invasion of Ukraine, Russia is believed to have carried out cyber-attacks against government institutions and infrastructure facilities.

While it has yet to suffer actual damage, the Defense Ministry is often targeted by malware and data attacks as well.

The ministry is rushing to expand its ability to respond to such attacks, with a cyberdefense unit of around 540 people slated to be established at the end of this month.