1, 2, 3, 4, I Declare A Cyberwar

A project currently underway at the Pentagon -- intriguingly named "Plan X" -- aims to make attacking enemies' computer systems so easy that "even a white-haired general" could do it.

What's the Latest Development?


One of the many cyberwarfare projects coming out of the US government carries the intriguing title "Plan X." DARPA has already spent over $5 million on preliminary studies involving some of the country's best-known game developers and special effects houses, and now the first phase of development is scheduled for this summer. The ultimate goal of this particular project: To make taking down an enemy's cyberinfrastructure as simple as entering a few swipes on a smartphone.

What's the Big Idea?

In general, cyberattacks that cause serious damage often take a long time to plan and are executed by small groups of highly-specialized hackers. Also, such offensives can be unpredictable regardless of the amount of preparation involved. For better or worse, DARPA wants to eliminate the complexity at the end-user level by creating an interface that even a commanding officer with minimal computer experience could use. After seeing a demonstration of a rough Plan X prototype, writer Noah Shachtman asks "whether developing a cyberattack infrastructure enhances security — or undermines it. Whether [they're] building a market for network mayhem."

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