The Johns Hopkins
University Applied Physics Laboratory has been awarded
$7.3 million for the
initial development phase of the Defense Advanced Research
Projects Agency's effort to build a
"cyber range" to test cyber security technology and protect
government computer networks from
Viruses, hackers and other cyber threats are now a
part of daily life. Malicious activity directed
at U.S. government computer networks is growing more
sophisticated, more targeted and more
prevalent. "The threat of terrorists seeking to exploit the
Internet to cause damage to the nation's
network of information systems, and therefore its security,
is very real," said Timothy Galpin, APL's
Infocentric Operations Business Area executive.
Experts say that creating a cyber test range would
allow the nation to experiment, conduct
research into and realistically test methods to thwart such
attacks. But in the world of cyber operations, such tests
are infrequent, expensive and time-consuming. So DARPA has
asked an APL-led group and six other teams to create
detailed engineering plans for a National Cyber Range that
♦ Conduct unbiased, quantitative and
qualitative assessment of information assurance and
survivability tools in a representative network
♦ Replicate complex, large-scale,
heterogeneous networks and users in current and future
Department of Defense weapon systems and operations.
♦ Enable multiple, independent, simultaneous
experiments on the same infrastructure.
♦ Enable realistic testing of Internet/Global
Information Grid scale research.
♦ Develop and deploy revolutionary cyber
♦ Enable the use of the scientific method for
rigorous cyber testing.
Peter Dinsmore, the principal investigator for the
effort, said, "Each of these alone presents
significant challenges that have not necessarily been met
by the test beds and cyber ranges in
operation today. We are leading a team of nine
organizations to create a test range that, when fully
operational, will meet all of these requirements and enable
leap-ahead advances in cyber technologies."
The APL-led team includes BBN Technologies, Sandia
National Laboratories, Idaho National
Laboratory, Verizon Federal Network Systems, OPNET
Technologies, Skaion Corp., the University of
Utah and Secure Decisions.
"Cyber testing capabilities have grown significantly
over the past few years, with many lessons
learned by the APL team," said APL's Andy Thompson, the
program manager for the effort. "We will be
leveraging both our own previous efforts and the efforts of
many others in this community."
APL will submit its design proposal to DARPA this
summer. DARPA will then make decisions that,
at least for now, include three follow-on phases for NCR:
prototype demonstration, buildout and
operation of the full-scale National Cyber Range.