The United States government is building a scale model of the internet in order to test out its cyber war operations.

The multi-million dollar project is being called a 'virtual firing range' and will allow the US to simulate cyber attacks and create network protections systems to guard against them.

The platform, commissioned by the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency, will also allow the US to try-out its own offensive capabilities without causing online havoc in the real world.

Indeed, the initiative will be designed to enable the US to wipe the slate clean when test operations are completed.

Eric Mazzacone, a DARPA spokesman, says that the US will be able to carry out test operations."in days rather than the weeks it currently takes."

Prototypes

The project is currently in the conception stage with key US defense contractor Lockhead Martin believed to be working on the project.Last month Lockheed itself fell victim to a cyber hack.

The US recently allocated $500m (£309m) of its defense budget to develop "cyber technologies," with the US recently re-classifying cyber-attacks to be an act of war.

DARPA is largely credited with developing the forerunner to the internet in the 1960s.

Source: Reuters