White-hatters on guard: the tenth Standoff cyberbattle to take place in Moscow on November 22–24

On November 22–24, 2022, white-hat hackers and infosec experts will convene once again at the Standoff open cyberbattle. For the tenth time, the infrastructure of the virtual State F will come under a barrage of hacker attacks, while infosec experts will uncover flaws in the infrastructure and figure out how hackers might break in. The event will be streamed live online at standoff365.com.

Cyberattacks are becoming ever more sophisticated and aggressive. Not only is their number rising sharply (by 15% since the start of this year), but also their complexity. The number of targeted attacks has already broken last year’s record. What’s more, even those who never imagined hackers would go after them are now in the firing line. These days literally any organization can fall victim: from agricultural holdings to video hosting services and popular media. In 2022, the whole of Russia has practically turned into one big cyberrange, where very few are experienced in dealing with real cyberattacks. It rests upon infosec experts to hold the fort, repelling hacker attacks on companies, industries, and the country as a whole.

At the same time, top management demands concrete results from cybersecurity: the business must achieve its goals, and operations must continue no matter what. The best and only way to make sure that IT and infosec services have the defensive skills to fend off an attack in advance of a major strike by hackers is to hold cyberexercises involving the world’s top security researchers.

The Standoff cyberbattle on November 22–24 will be the tenth anniversary of the event. The unprecedented turbulence in both the real world and global cyberspace only underscores the particular importance of such drills.

The Standoff platform simulates the most complex cyberattack scenarios in various industries, including oil and gas, iron and steel, and energy. It also features a well-developed banking system, so interbank operations too will come under attack. All of these elements are connected to real infrastructure used in real-life enterprises. The attacking teams will try to inflict business-threatening damage on key facilities, while the defenders will closely follow the attacks and gain combat experience.

In addition to the cyberbattle, a new round of Standoff Talks awaits participants. This meetup allows experts to exchange knowledge and skills, finds and discoveries, and get feedback from professionals. They will be able to apply this experience to strengthen the security of companies nationwide.

"For a security researcher, critical thinking and the desire to constantly learn and upskill are vital. Standoff has long ceased to be a straightforward clash between attackers and defenders. The cyberbattle and Standoff Talks give infosec experts new experience and knowledge that they can then use in practice. For six years, we’ve been bringing together a diverse range of infosec players. They share their expertise with other participants, who can then implement advanced approaches and security solutions in their companies and improve their level of protection," sums up Standoff 365 CPO Yaroslav Babin.

The event is traditionally co-organized by Innostage, which will deploy and provide technical support for the cyberrange infrastructure. CyberART, the cybersecurity arm of InnoStage, will monitor the battle and the teams’ actions. Its expert analysts will act as mentors for some of the defending teams.

Standoff is not only the world’s largest open cyberrange, but a platform for a free and fruitful discussion of the latest cybersecurity challenges. Also planned are live presentations by experts from the world of information security and meetings with government and business representatives. A separate session will cover the impact of hacker activity on the investment appeal of the industry and the prospects for investment in IT and cybersecurity.

Standoff has been held since 2016. Over these past six years, a large yet close-knit community of ethical hackers has formed around the event, with more than 1,000 security experts taking part in past cyberbattles. The most recent Standoff, held as part of PHDays 11, became the most visited forum in its history: 10,000 people visited the site in Moscow, and over 130,000 viewers followed it online. Spectators and participants in the battle witnessed the butterfly effect in action: how the triggering of an unacceptable event in one industry can affect others and the country as a whole. For four days, 157 security researchers from 17 teams looked for weaknesses in the protection of the cyberrange infrastructure. They managed to actualize 63 unacceptable events, 30 of which were unique. The forum was attended by Russian Minister of Digital Development Maksut Shadayev, Rosatom Chief Digital Officer Yekaterina Solntseva, and Russian Ministry of Digital Development Cybersecurity Director Vladimir Bengin.