(Bloomberg) -- The European Union began testing its cyber-defense responsiveness on Friday with a simulated attack on a fictitious Finnish power company as the bloc seeks to strengthen its digital defenses amid concern about a potential attacks.

The start of the cyber exercise came the same day Ukraine fell victim to an actual attack that brought down around 70 government websites. Ukraine’s security service on Friday said it sees “some signs” that Russia was behind the attack. The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, warned the bloc’s defense ministers this week about the need to bolster the cyber capacities.

Read more: Cyberattack Hits Ukrainian Websites as Russia Tensions Mount 

The Finnish attack is part of a six-week exercise to stress-test Europe’s resilience, strengthen preparedness and cooperation among member states, and improve the effectiveness of a joint response. The tests are expected to conclude during a meeting of EU foreign ministers at the end of February. 

Read more: EU to Stage Large-Scale Cyberattack Exercise on Supply Chains

In the Finnish simulation, a major cyber security incident is detected in software used by a major energy company, according to diplomatic notes seen by Bloomberg. The high penetration of the software across sectors and member states risks spreading the impact across Europe, according to the notes.

The EU response foresees the activation of member states’ working groups on cyber issues to monitor the impact and find the origin of the crisis as well as taking possible actions to mitigate the consequences of the attack.




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