Organisations in the US are building a virtual model of the internet to enable security researchers to simulate attacks by foreign powers and from hackers based inside the US.
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The National Cyber Range project, under the auspices of the Defense Advance Research Projects Agency (Darpa), will enable testing of defensive and offensive technologies.
A prototype of the system, which developers say will reduce experiment times from weeks to days, is expected to go into operation by the end of 2011.
The US, like the UK, has identified cyber threats as a top security priority and has been gradually increasing funding for cyber defence projects, with more than $500m (£309m) currently allocated to the Department of Defense to develop "cyber technologies".