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June 20, 2011

Virtual Attacks Call for Virtual Preparation, Pentagon Says

For decades, military pilots have been logging hours in flight simulators, preparing themselves for the reality of soaring through the air by using computer simulations to get ready for combat situations. Now, the Pentagon has contracted with two different research companies to create a virtual training ground to prepare our nation’s defenses for cyber attacks.

Were you one of the millions affected by recent hacker assaults Sony’s Playstation Network database, or that of Sega? In these cases, databases were down for protracted lengths of time and personal data of thousands of customers were compromised. Well, the U.S. government thinks that cyber terrorist groups like Anonymous and LulzSec are not playing games, especially in light of recent attacks against Citi’s databases and even the CIA.

In order to properly prepare the country’s cyber defenses to counter these cyber attacks, the U.S. government has set aside $130 million to create a fake Internet for the purposes of simulating responses to various forms of cyber assault.

The United States Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), which was responsible for creating the forerunner of the Internet in the 1960’s, has contracted with both Lockheed Martin (News - Alert) and a team at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory to create two different versions of the virtual training ground, to be known as the National Cyber Range.

The faux-Internet is expected to be up and running for training purposes sometime in the middle of 2012.

This plan comes on the heels of the Pentagon’s declaration that cyber attacks can and will be met with military response.

In related news, TMCnet’s Tracey Schelmetic reported that breaches of data are often not the fault of technology, but rather the result of human error.

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Rich Steeves is a TMCnet copy editor. He taught writing for nine years. He has also worked as an editorial assistant at Penny Publications. He has written short stories, newspaper columns, blogs and recently published his first novel. He attended The George Washington University where he received his bachelor's degree in English and a master's degree in education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell
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