Over 16 years ago, AFCEA published one of my first groundbreaking articles on CSA, “Cyberspace situational awareness demands mimic traditional command requirements.” AFCEA Signal Magazine, Falls Church, VA, (Feb 2000): pp 83-84.. In that paper, I wrote “Next-generation network management and intrusion detection systems will fuse data, combining both short-term sensor data with long-term knowledge databases to provide cyberspace situational awareness-based decision support systems and cyberspace command and control. Sophisticated computer hardware and software will identify a myriad of objects against a noise-saturated environment. Cyberspace command and control systems will track the objects, calculate the velocity, estimate the projected threats and provide other critical decision support functions.”

Virtual and augmented reality technologies are rapidly becoming more main stream. In that same 2000 AFCEA paper I wrote, “Visualization of attack scenarios is considered to be critical for future CC2 decision-makers. The figures in this article represent future CC2 decision support systems created by researchers at the University of Illinois. These examples represent the possible outputs of future CC2 systems, illustrating virtual reality-based global WWW traffic analysis and a geographic mapping of network-based attacks in the Internet. In one example from the ip2ll server project, a database containing long-term knowledge of the relationship of IP addresses to geographic space is used to visualize global Internet data flows. Mapping cyberspace to geographic space is critical to decision makers in these visualizations.”

Now, take a look at this recent video “OpenGraphiti Data Visualization Engine: Exploring Blackhat.com“. This video is an excellent example of how close we are to being able to use VR / AR technologies to “fly in cyberspace”. In this OpenGraphiti video, AR / VR technologies have not yet been “plugged in” to the system; however we can see that we are getting much closer to the capability for a network operator, cyber warrior, security specialist, or a “repairman” to fly inside a virtual representation of cyberspace and to maneuver and inspect or modify objects in cyberspace in real-time.

This is truly amazing if you think about it. We are on the verge of having the capability to travel and work in cyberspace. As these technologies continue to evolve and merge, it is just a matter of time that we will be about to fly weightlessly in cyberspace using body gestures (and someday further down the road, our thoughts). Network management and cyberspace security will be based on our ability to fly into this new space, a fusion of cyber objects with processing and visualization to not only have much more situational awareness in cyberspace, but to rapidly identify and respond to threats in real-time or near-real time.

It’s just a matter of time. As the saying goes, “Let the most fun “real” games begin!” Cyberspace will be the canvas for a vast sea of creativity unparalleled in the history of mankind. The Future is Now.