High-profile healthcare breaches have 1,100 cybersecurity pros putting their chops to the test

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A rash of cybersecurity incidents impacting healthcare organizations and various private retailers of late have many professionals wondering just how prepared they are to protect their own firms and institutions. More than 1,100 such individuals gathered in an underground control room in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday to simulate what it would be like to have to defend against a cybersecurity threat in real time, and how their expertise would stand up.

The event, hosted by the Department of Homeland Security, was the fifth iteration of a simulation called Cyber Storm, in which participants experience various types of exercises to identify areas they may need to improve their digital defense mettle over the course of a week.

"Retail and healthcare have been in the headlines — and, frankly, in the crosshairs for a lot of criminals," Gregory Touhill, a deputy assistant for cybersecurity protection for the DHS, told the Associated Press. "We're looking to find the failure points, to raise the bar in every scenario."

Cyber Storm V ends Friday, concluding with a discussion on how individuals can make improvements to their cybersecurity infrastructures and the general posture of various industries when it comes to fending off digital attacks.

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