The threat of attacks on our global computer and communications networks has the U.S. Department of Defense moving its war games into cyberspace using emulations called software virtual networks. SVNs in the civilian sector are also testing the security of wireless devices you already own. R.C.J.
Software virtual networks are already trickling down into the private sector too, enabling all sorts of commercial application developers—from Microsoft to NTT—to test their planned network rollouts before they are deployed. For instance, Microsoft is using SVNs to test the Wi-Fi protocols in its mobile operating system. And NTT's DoCoMo—the main mobile phone operator in Japan—uses SVNs to emulate its base stations countrywide. For the military, the software virtual network allows them to release the nastiest viruses, worms and other malware, then test them against their countermeasures. The military tests all sorts of real-world attack scenarios, such as network intrusions, wormholes, denial of service, simulated RF jamming and every other conceivable hack. SVNs allow cyber-warriors to stress-test applications for vulnerabilities, close security gaps and pinpoint routines that need to be rewritten.