The Future Of Cybersecurity: More Intuitive, More Data Sharing

Evan Wilt Contributor
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A new intuitive graphical cybersecurity interface was on display Thursday, with the goal of providing a more efficient strategy for America’s defense against cyberattacks.

The Pentagon’s research arm, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), showcased its new system known as Plan X, at a technology forum hosted by The Christian Science Monitor on Thursday, giving a fresh look at what the future of cybersecurity could be for the Department of Defense as well as the commercial and private sector.

In its product demonstration, Plan X program manager, Frank Pound, showed DARPA’s interface for cybersecurity, which uses a 3-D graphical touch  interface displaying network attacks in real time.

“We are going to face attacks on our networks in the future,” said Pound. “But let’s react to that in real time instead of forensically discovering… [that] they took all this information from us after the fact.”

Pound explained that the mission behind Plan X is to negate the amount of man hours spent looking through insurmountable data logs pinpointing the inception of an attack. In the purposed new interface, DARPA believes it can streamline cyber operations, giving the tools essential for cybersecurity to those without expert knowledge in computer science.

In 2014, the U.S. director of national intelligence listed the breech of online systems and theft of information as the No. 1 threat to America’s national security–-ahead of terrorism and weapons of mass destruction.

DARPA believes that this idea of sharing catalogued data from cyberattacks on both federal and private levels is the future of cybersecurity innovation.

“The idea is that data storage is cheap nowadays, let’s store everything so that we can do those long-term correlations and find the needle in the haystack in real time,” said Pound.

Along with the Plan X interface, Pound is proposing an app store concept for each specific cyberattack on a network a developer can write up an analytic and make it available for others. Each new app helps to automate the processes of countering cyberattacks which can be downloaded and used easily and efficiently, said Pound.

If implemented, Plan X is proposed to cost around $125 million over the next four years. The program manager hopes the interface will be used as both an operational tool for the military as well as an educational apparatus for less experienced analysts.

“Natively built into the way we’re building this interface it’s a learning tool in addition to an operational tool,” said Pound. “And that also addresses another need in the military: to have a persistent training environment.”