DARPA To Use Oculus Rift In Cyber Operations

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, based in the US, has completed a proof of concept using the Oculus Rift in cyber warfare — both defensive, and offensive.

In keeping with the unnecessary B-grade sci-fi theme, the setup is called Plan X. With two motion-sensing Razer Hydras, users are able to navigate through computer networks represented as spheres. In the demo below, a user would protect networks from a hacker wielding the dreaded DDOS attack.

It's unclear exactly how representing data in 3D makes anything quicker or easier, as opposed to just looking at several monitors. In a Wired story, Program Manager Frank Pound talks about "immersion" and "swimming in data", but not a lot about practicality.

They might not be willing to share the how they're getting from Point A to Point B, but they're pretty clear about what Point B is. The endgame is not only the ability to defend networks, but also attack networks — the example given is one in which a hacker turns a facility's lights out to give soldiers on the ground a tactical advantage.

The agency also acknowledges the Rift might well be a completely different product by the time Plan X is actually used, sometime around 2017. But DARPA seems to be in the loop on future plans for the Rift — meaning John Carmack is indirectly working for not only Facebook, but the military. Times have changed.



    That seems ridiculously stupid, but as a DARPA project I've got to assume there's more too it. An AR headset for on the move work, sure, that makes sense, but Rift style VR navigation of a digital system? Perhaps if you need to fit a lab into the space of a cubical, or create an VR desktop that can be altered on the fly, but this just seems like a slower, clunkier alternative to a keyboard and multiple screens.
    Being able to punch a network to death may make more sense to someone with a soldiers skill set, but for a hacker this has to be about as painful as walking someone through it via the phone.

    Last edited 28/05/14 2:44 pm

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