Vunerabilities in IT System Detected During the Government-wide Cyber Exercise

03 Nov 2022
Author: HSD Foundation

During the fourth Government-wide Cyber Exercise initiated by the Ministry of Interior and Kingdom Relations, the fictious municipality of Huiswijkerdam faced a vulnerability in its IT systems. Over 300 participants practised online with a crisis team. Additionally, about 100 organisations practised simultaneously and 60 participants watched the development of the exercise live in the studio.


Mastering cybercriminals

State Secreatary for Kingdom Relations and Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen opened the exercise. “Practising with cyber incidents is essential as cyber attacks are becoming increasingly common in our daily lives. Around 2.5 million people in our country say they have been victims of cybercriminals at some point. This ranges from being scammed on marketplaces to trusting fake websites, sometimes resulting in huge financial (and emotional damage). Only though regular practice will we get a step ahead of cybercriminals”.


Different rounds

The crisis team worked on the exercise in three different rounds. First, the facts needed to be on the table. What was already known and what priorities and actions follow from this? Have citizens’s data been leaked and which criminals are behind the attack? What do we do with the ransom demand? And how and when should citizens be informed about the municipality’s cyber crisis? However, the most important discussion topic was to whether or not shut down the systems.


Important lessons

After the exercise, the crisis team announced the actions they took to defuse the crisis. What lessons did the crisis team itself learn?

  • Make sure you have considered all the pros and cons before making a decision;
  • Ask through within your crisis team whether all the information was understood by everyone in the same way;
  • It is important to listen carefully to each other and use each other's expertise;
  • Make sure you review your decisions after the exercise. Did we really make the right decisions and were they sufficiently substantiated?
  • You only know after the crisis is over whether you did the right thing.

The exercise is organised in collaboration with many organisations, amongst ICTU, Spitz, COT Instituut voor Veiligheids- en Crisismanagement


Also watch the RTL Z cyber sessions about how municipalities can prepare for cyber incidents and cybercrisis with CCV, VNG, Veiligheidsregion Noord Oost Gelderland and Municipalities of Weert and The Hague.




Source: Digitale Overheid

HSD Partners involved

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