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The Real Tron: It Security as a Shoot 'em Up

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MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory


Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) researchers have developed an approach that allows IT security professionals to patrol their assigned environments as if they were playing a first-person shooter video game.

The system combines data from network access control systems with existing plans of the building that houses an organization's computers. These are fed into a gaming engine called Unity, which generates a navigable three-dimensional environment. If a part of the network experiences an anomaly or seems to be under attack, it flashes red, catches fire, or can even explode, using built-in animations. Other users also can appear in the game, allowing a team to cooperate more naturally than screen-sharing or teleconferencing.

"Everyone can see everyone else," says MIT researcher Jeremy Kepner. "You could say, 'Follow me while I walk over to this machine that's behaving weirdly,' and people could be in physically different places while having this interaction."

Kepner stresses that adding realism to the first-person shooter environment improves effectiveness of security analysts' participation. The game was successfully tested on a 5,000-machine network, according to Kepner.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2012 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA 


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