Pentagon officials showed off a virtual reality battlefield, using the Oculus Rift motion-sensing 3D VR headset, which turns cyber attacks into 3D visions where defenders can “look around” using the gadget’s built in accelerometers, reports Wired.
The experimental project was created by DARPA (Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency), as part of its Plan X programme, whose goal is to make military cyber defense as easy to use as physical weaponry, reports Wired, which was shown a demo version of the software.
“You’re not in a two-dimensional view, so you can look around the data. You look to your left, look to your right, and see different subnets of information,” Darpa’s Frank Pound told the magazine. “With the Oculus you have that immersive environment. It’s like you’re swimming in the internet.”
The Oculus Rift offers a full 3D VR experience, where people can move their heads due to built-in acccelerometers. The addition of motion-sensing hardware such as Leap Motion allows cyber defenders to interface with apps simply by moving fingers.
In the demonstration, likened to “one big video game” by Gizmodo, defenders are presented with a 3D representation of a network – a sphere they can “look around”, and are able to select an overall plan of action, such as scanning a network for malware, or probing “endpoints” (targets for hackers). More detailed actions can be carried out by selecting on-screen icons.
The U.S. navy already uses Rift for training simulations. The DARPA demonstration pitted virtual warriors against threats such as DDOS attacks, with a spherical network of computers under assault by cyber threats.
Techcrunch points out that the simulation isn’t ready for the virtual battlefield yet – the video was made by San Francisco-based creatives Frog Design and Texan software company Infinifac.
Interviewing Darpa’s Frank Pound, Techcrunch was told that Plan X was to run for years, adding new features to the software – and the site commented that using VR might be ideal for young recruits familiar with the software.
Author Rob Waugh, We Live Security