Brazilian Army Tests Cyber Warfare Simulator Ahead of 2014 World Cup

By Dialogo
February 25, 2013

I think it's spectacular I love playing very neat hahaha it's very good conqueror of all worlds, very good hhhmmmmmmmmmmm this game is awesome... WHAT'S THE QUALITY OF THIS GAME it's cool one can't play without downloading, and it downloads and it's not enough, nooo, let us play without downloading Very good and interesting. it seems a good game to play that it's a very pretty and stupid game because on the first level there's a way, but not on the second, that's why how do you play The Brazilian Army has a new weapon to fight the cyber war: the National Simulator for Cyber Operations. This software, known by its Portuguese acronym SIMOC, builds training environments that simulate known virtual threats — as well as threats not yet discovered.

Decatron, a private company with 17 years in the information technology market, developed SIMOC for the Center of Cyber War Instruction (CIGE), which was instrumental in its design. The Brazilian Defense Ministry funded the project with a grant of $2.55 million.

SIMOC is one of the pillars of Brazil’s National Defense Strategy to build equipment and platforms for cyber defense. “A team of information technology specialists is working exclusively on this project,” said Carlos Rust, director of Rio de Janeiro-based Decatron, which is the Brazilian partner of U.S. computer giant Hewlett Packard.

Rust said the software took a year to develop and involved 30 Brazilian professionals. He said a centerpiece of the National Defense Strategy is promoting employment and generating revenues through the defense industry.

“This is one of the most important projects developed by the Army's Communications and Electronic Warface Center,” said General Antonino dos Santos Guerra, commander of the center, also known as CCOMGEX. The SIMOC simulator, he said, “is a solution that promotes national technology and helps to raise Brazil’s GDP.”

Preparing for 2014 — and 2016

Rust also emphasized the importance of a national simulator that prepares Brazil for virtual defense as the country readies to host next year’s FIFA World Cup as well as the 2016 Summer Olympics. He told Diálogo that SIMOC’s main advantage is that is very nimble.

“It is flexible and allows the creation of practically any scenario of defense or attack,” he said. “These scenarios are created by the instructor and are stored in a knowledge database to be reused. All the practices and actions of attack and defense are also stored for reutilization.”

This flexibility is a major plus for SIMOC, given that most comparable software programs on the market include only a pre-defined number of scenarios and don’t allow for customization. But the Brazilian system was built based on international experience, since the Armed Forces are involved in these types of projects “in all countries of the world,” Gen. Dos Santos said.

The simulator software helps analyze network vulnerabilities, which lets users act in a controlled environment while adopting an active defense strategy, he said. Training is based on real scenarios of disasters and risks to Brazil’s critical infrastructure.

System is adaptable for military and civilian training

SIMOC works with usernames and passwords. Once logged in, a user may choose to reproduce an existing computer network or build a new one. The software allows technical reporting of all operations conducted in the virtual environment.

The simulator is dual-use, “meaning that the software can be used for military training and for civilian training in big companies,” Rust said. “It also can be used to conduct analysis of network vulnerabilities, not just for training.”

The application utilizes virtualization technology running several operating systems from one terminal, and various open-source components to meet certain requirements. While the use of open-source software may raise some eyebrows, Rust does not see it as a security risk.

“Some of the functionalities were built utilizing open-source software, which is an advantage because we have control of the code,” he said. “This way we generate a complete product at the same level of the most advanced foreign solutions, with 100 percent control of it.”

Brazil determined not to let hackers win

With the World Cup coming up in June 2014, at least one group besides the athletes themselves are working hard to make the most of the event: computer hackers. But the Brazilian government has invested $20.4 million to avoid attacks on state-run networks as well as computerized infrastructure systems such as airports.

“The possibility that Brazil will suffer a massive attack is the same as that of someone declaring war on the country,” said General José Carlos dos Santos, commander of Brasília’s Center for Cyber Defense (CDCiber), in a recent interview with Correio Braziliense. “It is low, but it exists.”

CDCiber is getting ready for all eventualities. Army Colonel Eduardo Wallier Vianna, with the center, warns that a cyber-attack could really wreak havoc on the World Cup.

“Let’s suppose that someone invades the database of the World Cup’s ticket system and starts selling duplicate tickets,” he told the newspaper Folha de São Paulo. “Hundreds of people would arrive at the stadium with fake tickets. That would generate confusion, wild crowds and deaths.”

To avoid this chaos and the resulting damage to Brazil’s international prestige, CDCiber “identifies the most critical areas, analyzes the information and studies previous cases,” Col. Vianna said.

Courses in cyber warfare

At SIMOC’s unveiling in the CCOMGEX auditorium, officers demonstrated how they used the software during a CIGE exercise as part of a course on cyber warfare — the first such course ever offered by the Brazilian Armed Forces to Army, Navy and Air Force personnel. Also attending the event was Decatron’s executive manager, Bruno Mello, along with Lieutanant Colonel Márcio Ricardo Fava, of CCOMGEX, and other military officials.

In 2012, 24 high-ranking officers at CCOMGEX took a six-month course to operate SIMOC, and are now qualified to face virtual threats such as common are hackers and organized groups that attack sites in order to draw attention to a cause — not to mention criminals, spies and cyber warriors.

SIMOC can also be used remotely, which puts it within the reach of other Brazilian military institutions. “It only needs an instructor to go to the other institution to coordinate the activities of the simulator,” dos Santos explained, adding that while the technology is also available to interested educational institutions, “we need to be careful whom we train.”