By Dan Goodin in San Francisco
22nd May 2009
As the US military strives to boost its ability to wage cyber warfare,
it's looking for ways to make it easier for non-expert soldiers on the
front lines to wreak havoc on enemy networks.
Enter a new generation of attack devices that is packaged to be brought
into the battlefield and used by non-specialists to penetrate
satellites, voice over internet networks, and supervisory control and
data acquisition systems. Aviation Week recently got a peek at one
device and provided a rich description of its features.
The device is designed to allow US forces to test enemy networks for a
wide range of vulnerabilities and then synthesize the results so they
can be acted on quickly. It offers touch-screen dashboards and sliders
to make enumeration and penetration more intuitive. One display shows a
schematic of an enemy network and identifies its nodes. A sliding lever
can be moved to increase an attack or dial it down to reduce collateral
The device is designed to take a slew of algorithms for monitoring and
penetrating networks and put them into an easy-to-use package. Think of
it as a hack-by-numbers gadget for combat forces.