Android Network Created to Study Cyber Disruptions

Sandia National Laboratories in California have turned to smartphones and other hand-held computing devices to help prevent and mitigate disruptions to computer networks on the Internet as part of ongoing research.

Researchers at Sandia linked together 300,000 virtual hand-held computing devices running the Android operating system in order to study large networks of smartphones and find ways to make them more reliable and secure. The work from this research is expected to result in a software tool that will allow others in the cyber research community to study the behaviors of smartphone networks and to model similar environments, which will enable the computing industry to better defend hand-held devices from malicious intent.

The Android project (Megadroid) is expected to help researchers understand large scale networks more fully. The virtual Android network at Sandia can be build up into a realistic computing environment that would consist of a web server, multiple subnets, a full domain name service, and an Internet relay chat. Key focus of the project is working with a Global Positioning system (GPS) and created simulated data in order for the researchers to discover and analyze what hackers can do to smartphone networks. The researchers hope this project will result in creating a steppingstone to help understand and limit damage from network disruptions caused by glitches, natural disasters, acts of terrorism, and other causes.

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