Pentagon's Plan X turns cyberwarfare into a video game

By on May 28, 2013, 3:15 PM

In an attempt to simplify the complex and often abstract world of cyberwarfare, for the past year the Pentagon has been developing a system called Plan X that essentially turns the process into a video game.

Sophisticated cyberattacks require the resources and expertise of highly trained professionals, and even after lengthy preparation, the results of such attacks are unpredictable because of the huge number of variables involved. DARPA wants to distill this process into a platform that can be understood and used by a broader array of military personnel, and turn cyber weapons into munitions that are as simple to execute as traditional weapons of war.

In order to allow a military operator to design and deploy a cyber effect, Plan X lays out a battery of tools on a large touchscreen panel and allows the user to interact with networks and computers in a manner that is comparable to a video game.

This doesn’t require the extensive training and level of proficiency that is currently required of military cyber personnel. In an interview with Wired, Dan Roelker, a cybersecurity specialist who came up with the idea for Plan X, said “Say you’re playing World of Warcraft, and you’ve got this type of sword, +5 or whatever. You don’t necessarily know what spells were used to create that sword, right? You just know it has these attributes and it helps you in this way. It’s the same type of concept. You don’t need the technical details.”

DARPA has recruited some major talent to work on Plan X, which is sure to give it even more of a science fiction feel than it may have taken on otherwise. Frog Design, responsible for the design of the Sony Walkman and the Apple IIc, is working on the hardware, while Massive Black is tackling the user interface. Massive Black is well known for their work on Bioshock and Transformers, among many other big movie and game titles.

Rudimentary push-button hacking tools are already available on the internet in various forms, but military-grade cyberwarfare capabilities at the touch of button sound like the stuff of Wargames or Ender’s Game. Perhaps future generations won’t ever have to leave their desks to fight wars.




User Comments: 6

Got something to say? Post a comment
JC713 JC713 said:

Interesting.

Guest said:

Yes smart people, really smart people are so difficult to control, you certainly do not want that type around your assetts.

And yet, if it is simple for average people to use, it is too dangerous to risk getting out the door and into general distribution.

You need something large and complex, and autonomous. So that no humans are required at all.

1 person liked this | Nima304 said:

Can't wait to see this on ThePirateBay.

2 people like this | captaincranky captaincranky, TechSpot Addict, said:

Yes smart people, really smart people are so difficult to control, you certainly do not want that type around your assetts.

And yet, if it is simple for average people to use, it is too dangerous to risk getting out the door and into general distribution.

Sort of like allowing the AIDS virus getting out of a lab, wouldn't you say?

You need something large and complex, and autonomous. So that no humans are required at all.
As much as I hate resorting to a threadbare cliche', but you're describing "Skynet", aren't you?

Either that, or you've been watching way too much, "Person of Interest" (CBS, (tentatively),9:00 PM in the fall)).

Skidmarksdeluxe Skidmarksdeluxe said:

Yes smart people, really smart people are so difficult to control, you certainly do not want that type around your assetts.

And yet, if it is simple for average people to use, it is too dangerous to risk getting out the door and into general distribution.

Sort of like allowing the AIDS virus getting out of a lab, wouldn't you say?

I thought the AIDS virus had AWOL'ed from the lab years ago.

You need something large and complex, and autonomous. So that no humans are required at all.
As much as I hate resorting to a threadbare cliche', but you're describing "Skynet", aren't you?

Or re-runs of Terminator.

Either that, or you've been watching way too much, "Person of Interest" (CBS, (tentatively),9:00 PM in the fall)).

treetops treetops said:

Reminds me of that puzzle video game they made to help map out the human genome. Phylo.

[link]

Load all comments...

Add New Comment

TechSpot Members
Login or sign up for free,
it takes about 30 seconds.
You may also...
Get complete access to the TechSpot community. Join thousands of technology enthusiasts that contribute and share knowledge in our forum. Get a private inbox, upload your own photo gallery and more.