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US military shows off hack-by-numbers battlefield gadget

Cyber warfare made easier

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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 damage.

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.

"Right now, all that information is in the head of a few guys that do computer network operations and there is no training system," one researcher told Aviation Week.

There's much more here. ®

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