Japan's National Institute of Information and Communications Technology (NICT) has developed a real-time network monitoring system called Daedalus that looks like it could have come out of Hollywood sci-fi movie. The system monitors computers in a network for any suspicious activity and can visualize the progression of an attack as it moves through the network.
The Daedalus system works by watching how data flows through a network and looks for any inconsistencies. If a USB flash drive with a virus infects a machine, Daedalus can identify and isolate its malignant traffic on-screen, sending an email to support staff and displaying a bright red alert through its 3D user interface. Network attacks, like the famous denial of service attack, can be difficult to visualize and track in real-time. Administrators often have to comb through hundreds of lines of server logs to isolate a problem, but Daedalus can show where attackers are focusing their flood of packets by representing them as a stream of arrows moving along iridescent lines.
NICT unveiled Daedalus at Interop 2012, an IT and network computing conference in Tokyo. The NICT showed of a similar product, called "nicter," at the conference in 2010, which is a holistic internet monitor that would eventually become the precursor to the Daedalus system. The NICT will be offering Daedalus to universities for free if their networks are capable, and will be transferring access to the system to a company called Clwit so they can develop it into a commercial product called SiteVisor.