Northrop opens UK cyber 'test range'

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Northrop opens UK cyber 'test range'

Contained attacks.

Weapons company Northrop Grumman last week opened the UK's first "commercially available" cyber security test range which will be used to emulate assaults on complex network infrastructure. 

"We need a test platform that is large enough to provide realistic environments and flexible enough to create many scenarios without creating risk for Internet users," Northrop's Information Systems Sector chief technology officer Dr Robert Brammer said.

"One of the challenges for research into computer network operations and cyber security is experimentation and testing under controlled conditions." 

The centre was opened shortly after the launch of the UK's National Security Strategy last week. 

It will be used to inform the government's IT security strategy, according to Gerald Howarth MP, Minister for International Security Strategy from the Ministry of Defence. 

"The cyber test range ... will play an important part in understanding evolving threats and ensuring that critical networks are safe and properly protected," he said at the opening.

Northrop claimed its "closed system" facility would be used to drive a network to "total failure" which would help it understand the impact of a cyber attack and how to keep them up and running when under fire. 

It would be a build, test and validation site for government and enterprise technologies, said Sir Nigel Essenhigh, chief executive of Northrop Grumman Information Systems Europe.

The UK centre will operate in conjunction with Northrop's US-based Cyberspace Solutions Centre.

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