Joint operation of Lithuania and the United States Army Cyber Command (U.S. CYBERCOM), Hunt Forward, wrapped in early May several months after its start. Lithuania’s first joint project with U.S. CYBERCOM aimed at strengthening real-life interoperability and increasing cyber threat resilience in the most critical networks.
“The war against Ukraine has demonstrated that cyberattacks are an inseparable element of modern military campaigns. Bearing that in mind, we have to prepare and build up capabilities for safeguarding our key networks, during war and peace alike, in advance. The three months of the operation in Lithuania offers a wealth of intelligence and skills to all participants ,” said Vice Minister of National Defence Margiris Abukevičius as the event was wrapped.
“This hunt forward operation is a great example of how cyber is a team sport, and we have to play it together. With these missions, we see a broader scope of how these bad actors are trying to attack important government networks,” said U.S. Army Maj. Gen. Joe Hartman, the commander of Cyber National Mission Force, the organization that deploys the hunt forward teams for USCYBERCOM.
“Thanks to our partners, we can share that insight to bolster our collective cybersecurity across the government and private sector. We are incredibly grateful to our Lithuanian partners for allowing us to hunt alongside them for malicious cyber activity, and then strengthen both our Nation’s cyber defenses,” Maj. Gen. Joe Hartman underscored.
The hunt forward operation involved the U.S. CYBERCOM team and specialists of the National Cyber Security Center under the MoD and the IT Service under the MoD fortifying interoperability in practice and increasing resilience of critical National Defence System and Ministry of Foreign Affairs networks.
Lithuania and the United States partner closely on cyber defence. The Regional Cyber Defence Centre established in Lithuania last summer serves as the main platform for practical Lithuanian-American cooperation, and it has already been joined by Ukraine and Georgia. In the spring of 2019 the Pennsylvania National Guard Cyber Defence Team assisted the National Cyber Security Centre in ensuring elections security. Another expert visit and a series of work meetings of PANG personnel with National Cyber Security Centre specialists took place last November.
This hunt forward operation is the first of the kind Lithuania has carried out with a U.S. CYBERCOM team. The United States has carried out such cyber defence operations across Europe before.