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Working on CLAW 2019 crisis exercise

Sometimes I am just amazed at how cool my job is. I doubt that many people get to spend time creating a world, and then systematically planning its destruction, unless they work in game design. Of course, creating crisis exercises is almost like designing a (very stressful) game.

Designing the game

Last week Simon Jensen (DKcert), Brook Schofield (GÉANT) and I (SURF) worked on the exercise for CLAW 2019 crisis workshop (November 6 and 7 at PSNC, Poznan, Poland). This time, participants will be divided into groups consisting of four teams: NOC, CSIRT, communications and management. Each team will go through 6 rounds of 15 minutes during which they will need to figure out what is going wrong, work together, make decisions and continue the game. And while the clock will be ticking, journalists, universities rectors and other stakeholders will be calling regularly to demand explanations and official statements.

World building

We needed to create a work setting that mirrors real life in order make the game as realistic as possible. So, this is what we will do. We will all be playing as the NREN of the fictional country of Guilder: GuilREN, with its 18 higher education and research member institutions, each one with its own history, peculiarities and issues. Can you imagine, for instance, that the School of Philosophy Pantaar – which was founded in 1610 by the students of the philosopher Pantaar the Elder – only connected to the GuilREN network in 2012 and its president is squarely against all forms of digitisation? How do you think he will interact with GuilREN in a crisis?

Of course, we are not only making up human foes for the heroes of CLAW, who will also have to battle against incidents in the security and network departments. Our great country, Guilder, is (almost) like many other countries: it features mountains,  endures earthquakes,  has friendly and less friendly neighbours (Lari and Kuna) and suffers from vulnerabilities in systems that have been overlooked for a long time.  So there is enough to go wrong in Guilder.

Testing your crisis management skills

This exercise will test and bring to life the skills and knowledge gained by all participants on the first day of CLAW.  On the first day, we will hear from Anna Wilson (HEAnet) about the network crisis caused by 9/11 and how such an outage would be different if it happened today. Furthermore, there will be three (3) training sessions to choose from: 1. Internal communications 2. Leadership during a crisis 3. Roles and responsibilities during a crisis. More speakers and details will be announced soon, so stay tuned. Please join us at CLAW to discover who will solve the crisis in Guilder.

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Find more information and the draft programme visit: 

Photo: Simon Jensen (DKcert) and Brook Schofield (GÉANT) designing the game

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