DARPA creating National Cyber Range

Wednesday - 1/26/2011, 4:20pm EST

You've heard of a shooting range. What about a National Cyber Range?

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency -- DARPA -- is creating a National Cyber Range, which will be a sealed-off virtual setting filled with simulated nodes, computers, and system administrators. It's a place where trainees can test-fire cyber weapons and practice cyber combat, The Register reports.

DARPA hopes to have the National Cyber Range will be ready for demonstration sometime before July, according to the report.

DARPA says the Range will simulate a network on the same scale as the internet or the military's Global Information Grid. It will be populated by software "replicants" that play the part of human users - and administrators - whose actions will have a real effect on the network. They're programmed to respond as if the code bombs and other cyber-attacks were actually happening.

The combatants are trained through live-fire cyber exercises. The bad guys are called the "OpFor" - or Opposing Forces - and they're tooled up with their own weapons-grade, nation-state quality cyber weapons.

Lockheed Martin is working on the Range on behalf of the military. Lockheed Martin has received an additional $7.3 million dollar modification to an more than $30 million Phase-Two contract.

This story is part of Federal News Radio's daily Cybersecurity Update brought to you by Tripwire. For more cybersecurity news, click here.