GIF via Attassa Cabrera
A version of this article originally appeared on The Creators Project Spain.
Lights, lasers, and a steady stream of arrows cross a map of the Earth fill your computer screen with rapid movement that looks like war deployment in the Norse Attack Map. The map allows you to view, in real time, cyber attacks being carried out in real life. It tells you which countries are the cause, that is, the "bad guys" of this war and what their objectives are.
This is internet war. You may find it less dangerous—it can't be seen with the naked eye and is less noisy but theorist Marshall McLuhan proposed that in 1968, World War III would be a "guerrilla war of information." This new war's obectives are to destroy computers, access classified material, destroy hard drives, and take information from bot enemy countries and allies, like the NSA spying on several French leaders recently revealed by Wikileaks. In short, they want to know what you think, what you have, and find your hidden information and how you use it.
On the Norse Attack Map, the system display tells you the type of attack, and IP geolocation. Thus, we can see that the United States and China are vying, second by second, for the top position of most offensive cyber instigator. The United States is by far the undisputed target of most offenses.
Image courtesy of Norse
We talked to Jeff Harrell of Norse, the company that has spent the last three years developing this system. There are 50 engineers involved in the project, responsible for collecting information from more than eight million sensors located in 50 countries. "These sensors mimic the favorite targets of the attacks, such as ATMs, smartphones, PCs or Macs, thus attracting the attacks," he explains.
Maintaining a platform of this kind is simple, but requires constant supervision of the sensors. "The platform is constantly updated so that each upgrade may be more accurate," says Harrell.
But while all this information may look frightening on your screen, the reality of said attacks are much more adundant. "The display shows only one in a thousand attacks," says Harrell. The flowing of lines and colors that you see are just a small part of the picture of what is really happening.