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VR and AR – Not Just For Games and Virtual Meetings

Updated: Mar 20, 2023

Virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) are rapidly evolving technologies that have the potential to positively impact a range of fields, including many aspects of cyber security. Utilizing emerging technologies harnesses the potential of what might initially be considered a disruptive technology into a surprisingly effective means by which to benefit employees when it comes to training, threat detection, and risk management.


Cyber security professionals require constant training to stay up-to-date with the latest threats and vulnerabilities. Traditional training methods can be costly, time-consuming, and ultimately be difficult to translate instruction to application. Training can experience difficulty in both retaining attention as well as often lacks the realism required to fully prepare individuals for real-world scenarios. VR and AR technologies offer a more immersive and engaging approach to training, allowing cyber security professionals to experience and respond to simulated threats in a realistic environment. This delivery method relies on more effective visualization, in place of traditional descriptive means to gain understanding.

VR and AR simulations can replicate cyber attacks and threats, allowing professionals to gain practical experience in detecting, responding to, and preventing attacks. These simulations also enjoy the added benefit of being able to tailor the training to specific job roles and level of expertise, providing targeted training to individuals based on their specific needs.

Threat Detection

VR and AR can be used to enhance threat detection capabilities. For example, AR can be used to overlay contextual information over top of physical objects in real-time, providing cyber security professionals with additional data and insights to aid in threat detection. This can include data on network activity, user behavior, emerging information on simultaneous attacks, and potential vulnerabilities yet to be exploited.

VR can also be used to create 3D visualizations of network activity and threats, providing a more intuitive and immersive way to explore complex data. This can help professionals identify patterns and anomalies in network activity and traffic, which can be critical in detecting potential threats. Having on-demand access to log reports evaluations and data traffic can pinpoint potential threat platforms and gaps in security at a much quicker pace.

Risk Management

VR and AC can help cyber security professionals manage risk by creating virtual environments that replicate real-world scenarios. This can enable professionals to better test and evaluate their systems, better zero in on potential weaknesses, and develop more effective strategies to mitigate risks.

For example, VR simulations can replicate a cyber attack on a financial institution, allowing professionals to test the effectiveness of their security measures and identify any weaknesses in their systems. Simultaneously, the so-called Blue Teams can test, evaluate, and practice the effectiveness of disaster mitigations, recovery plans, and incident response procedures.

An Exciting Future

VR and AR technologies offer exciting new opportunities for cyber security professionals to improve their training, threat detection, and risk management capabilities, all while reinforcing the procedures and mindsets in place to prevent and mitigate intrusion risks. By creating immersive and realistic simulations, these technologies can help professionals gain practical experience in detecting and responding to cyber threats, and more effectively developing ongoing effective strategies for managing risk. As these fields continue to evolve and their potentials realized, we can expect to see even greater innovations, lower response time, and better security policy mindsets to be formed in the field of cyber security.

Shane Staton lives in Houston, Texas, and is a recent graduate of the University of Houston Downtown with a Masters in Security Management and Cybersecurity.

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