DARPA’s Plan X to bring ‘military mindset’ to cyber-war

Army DARPA Plan X

Ask most “real” computer security experts, the guys and gals who have been cracking and/or protecting networks since before Windows were NT, and they’ll tell you the best way to protect a network is simply to know everything about it. They take pride in being able to quickly navigate arcade database structures and monitor access using only a text-based interface — but with virtually every organization of any real size now turning to computer security experts to protect their business, these sorts of security hardcores are getting washed out by snot-nosed millennials who think Unix is how you used to play Ubisoft games online.

That’s especially true in the military, which misses a good portion of the libertarian-minded hacking set right off the bat. What is the biggest military in the world to do, when one of the most important upcoming industries simply can’t provide the volume of talent they require to keep their operations safe? DARPA’s Plan X is an attempt to answer that question.

Plan X takes a very simple approach to solving the talent crisis: Rather than increasing the amount of talent being produced (this has been tried for several years), instead try simply lowering the amount of talent needed to do the job. The goal is to make basic monitoring of network security a whole lot more approachable, using an intuitive user interface and easily digested symbology to make it easy — and, more importantly, quick — to keep tabs on the source and type of any access to a particular network.