Government-Wide Cyber Exercise: Enhancing Digital Resilience

01 nov 2023
Auteur: HSD Foundation

The 5th Government-wide Cyber Exercise took place on Monday 30 October. The fictional municipality of Rommeldam was confronted with a vulnerability in its IT systems. More than 300 participants practiced online with the crisis team in the studio. In addition, 130 organisations practiced simultaneously and 90 participants were present live in the studio. The exercise was opened by State Secretary for Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen.


The crisis team worked in the studio in 3 rounds according to the BOB model (image, judgment, decision). Most of the discussion centered around whether to switch off the systems. 63% decided to disable the municipality’s systems in the first round.


Meanwhile, online participants provided their advice to the crisis team on critical questions such as how to inform citizens about the cyber crisis in the municipality. Responding to angry tweets from citizens, each organisation took varied approaches:

  • 28% chose complete transparency, sharing informations with citizens
  • 57% opted to share limited information
  • 14% decided to temporarily withhold communication, assessing the situation further


Additionally, participants tackled essential questions such as responding to the ransom demand. On the question of the bitcoin ransom, organisations also had various strategies:

  • 47% indicated that they did not negotiate with criminals
  • 44% started the conversation, but did not pay
  • 8% paid the ransom to regain access to the systems


The exercise was opened by State Secretary for Digitalisation Alexandra van Huffelen. In her speech, she emphasised the importance of digital resilience.


Van Huffelen: “As part of the Work Agenda, we are doing everything we can to improve cybersecurity. That is why the Ministry of the Interior and Kingdom Relations organizes this cyber exercise every year. Citizens must be able to count on government services. Safe trading is the basis for this.”


Not able to join the event? Watch the broadcast here (available per 2 November).


Read the official article in Dutch.

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