Our nation’s infrastructure is an ever-evolving entity, but so is cyber security.
The chance is always there that a computer problem could lead to a complete shutdown of water or power. The Idaho National Lab is unveiling some new technology to keep that chance as small as possible, so that America runs smoothly.
The INL’s “Sophia” software is pretty to look at, but she’s got a big job to do.
“The threats to organizations, to individuals like you and I, are real,” said INL associate lab director Brent Stacey. “They’re dynamic, they’re sophisticated and theyre changing every single day.”
Computers run much of America’s critical infrastructure, comprised of 18 sectors recognized by the federal government, which should never stop running.
Anything that runs on a computer is subject to crash. Whether it’s a bug, a hacker or a hardware issue, Sophia makes sure the user knows there’s a problem with the system.
“We needed a tool that would present that information to us in a way that was concise and meaningful,” explained Corey Thuen, one of Sophia’s developers.
Sophia takes “computer language” and makes it easier for a person to understand.
A stunning display of lines, numbers and colors represents network communication. It’s an interface that, until now, has never been developed.
“Computers might not be able to sort through the patterns, but if we put that up in a nice pretty way with a 3-D laser show and we can make it apparent to the human, they’d be able to use their pattern recognition ability to identify when something is not operating correctly,” Thuen said.
If a network operator sees something abnormal on the display, they can quickly identify a problem and fix it with the help of three other cybersecurity tools developed by the INL — and a little expertise.
For more information on INL’s Sophia, click here.