The swiftly evolving cyberscape of 2022 was marked with vulnerabilities that bear specific gravity for our niche. To help learn the lessons we’ve put together, this briefing will provide a technical dissection of these threats, implications for our domain, and best practices to stay safeguarded.

The Five Eyes’ Technical Warning

The ‘Five Eyes’ cyberintelligence alliance sent ripples through the security communities with their incisive observations on prevalent vulnerabilities. A key point: older, unpatched systems often became the doorways for sophisticated adversarial campaigns.

Technical Rundown of Crucial Vulnerabilities

  1. Fortinet SSL VPNs: This 2018 vulnerability centres on a path traversal bug. In layman’s terms, it permits unauthorized file access and modifications. In a defence simulation environment, this can lead to altered training modules or, worse, false flag scenarios.
  2. Zoho ManageEngine: The RCE (Remote Code Execution) vulnerability allows remote attackers to execute arbitrary code, potentially compromising and altering mission-critical simulations or extracting proprietary defence strategies.
  3. Atlassian’s Confluence: Another RCE vulnerability which, if exploited, could allow unauthorized code execution. This could tamper with or leak mission-critical data, compromising training efficacy and tactical deployments.
  4. Log4Shell Apache Log4j: This vulnerability allows attackers to execute arbitrary code on the target server. What are the implications for defence simulations? Potentially compromising the entire simulation environment or exfiltrating sensitive deployment strategies.
  5. Other Technical Concerns:
    • ProxyShell in Microsoft Exchange: A suite of vulnerabilities that allow post-authentication command execution.
    • VMware exploits¬†Specific vulnerabilities granting RCE capabilities.
    • Microsoft’s Windows Support Diagnostic Tool: A flaw where the tool can be hoodwinked into running an attacker’s code, jeopardizing system integrity.

Crypto Vulnerabilities: The Defence Implications

Vyper’s reentrancy lock flaws, evident in Web3’s language vulnerability, spotlight the nascent risks in cryptographic deployments. If leveraging blockchain or related tech for data integrity, Defence simulations could see data tampering or even total simulation hijacking.

Pertinent Alerts for Defence

  • Mozilla: Defence platforms using browser-based simulation environments should expedite patches for vulnerabilities in Firefox and Thunderbird.
  • Ivanti EPMM: A traversal vulnerability capable of granting unauthorized access to proprietary mission data.
  • APSystems Altenergy Power Control Software: OS command injection vulnerabilities underscore the necessity of a secure power control interface, especially for long-haul simulations.

Infiltration from Within: Lessons in Internal Vigilance

The FBI’s discovery of the Landmark spyware deployment from the NSO Group, notably after it was internally sanctioned, underscores the perennial threats of internal vulnerabilities and the need for incessant scrutiny.

Technical Defence Strategies

Regular Patching: Regularly update all software to the latest versions. This mitigates known vulnerabilities.

Zero Trust Architecture: Assume your network is always compromised. Implement strict access controls, continuous authentication, and micro-segmentation.

Frequent Audits: Regularly audit software and internal processes, ensuring that even internally approved tools pass stringent security checks.

VPN & Encryption: Encrypt data in transit and at rest and ensure secure connections, especially for remote simulations.

Security Training: Periodic training for staff on the latest cyber threats and best practices is crucial.

Backup Regularly: Ensure mission-critical simulation data and configurations are backed up securely, allowing for swift recovery post-compromise.


The 2022/23 cyber tableau, laden with technical threats, presses for a meticulously technical response from the defence simulation realm. To fortify our critical mission environments, an equilibrium of awareness, vigilance, and proactivity is paramount.

Stay secure and vigilant,