The CyberVAN testbed provides a testing and experimentation environment to support cyber security research for the members of the Army Research Laboratory (ARL) Cyber Security Research Alliance (CRA) and other research organizations/academia. The CyberVAN testbed is designed and maintained by Perspecta Labs and currently supports many different types of cyber experimentation, and it is being continuously enhanced through research and development to support needs of advanced cyber experimentation.


CyberVAN provides the highest fidelity representation of a network next to actually deploying the real network, by representing the network in a discrete event network simulator, and enabling hosts represented by virtual machines (VMs) to communicate over this simulated network.

High-Fidelity Network Effects

Although existing cloud service offerings can provide high-fidelity representations of different host environments, they are limited in the networking capabilities they provide. For example, it would not be possible to connect two cloud hosted virtual machines via a Wifi Link. Network simulators like ns-3 provide high-fidelity simulation all of the network effects, including latencies, link capacities, routing protocols, etc. In particular, wireless networks can be modeled with high fidelity, due to the ability to model mobility, interference, and propagation effects, as well as the details of different waveforms. This becomes critically important when cyber attacks that target different aspects of the wireless protocols need to be included in a cyber scenario. Accurate modeling of Internet-scale networks is also not achievable using existing cloud service environments because of the inability to model Internet protocols and services accurately. CyberVAN’s innovative transparent forwarding technology enables IP traffic generated by services running on VMs to be sent via a simulated network to its destination VM. In order to accommodate large network simulations that may run slower than real time, CyberVAN incorporates our patented TimeSync technology that synchronizes the notion of time across VMs and the simulator, thereby enabling experiments to run slower than real time.

Cyber Management Framework

CyberVAN provides sophisticated capabilities for managing the design, deployment, and archiving of cyber scenarios. Users access CyberVAN via a Web Portal and use a Scenario Generation GUI to design their network. CyberVAN automatically allocates the required hardware resources for the scenario. A Scenario Management GUI provides an environment for accessing and managing the elements of a scenario, including logging in to the VMs in the scenario, running various analytics tools on these VMs, saving the results of experiments, pausing and restarting experiments, and so on.

Cyber Effects Library

CyberVAN provides a substantial, growing library of cyber effects, including tools for assessing vulnerabilities, scanning tools, ability to deploy VMs running operating systems with specific vulnerabilities, and malware libraries for cyber testing.

Realistic User Traffic

A realistic cyber environment must include realistic traffic, which is generated by users of the network. A simplistic way of generating traffic on a network is to make use of tools like mgen that generate traffic conforming to specified rates and types between specified endpoints. However, such synthetic traffic can easily be spotted by traffic analysis tools. CyberVAN, on the other hand, provides capabilities for simulating real users driving applications on end hosts which in turn generate realistic network traffic.

How to Get a Login Account for the CyberVAN Testbed

Users must login from the portal before using the CyberVAN testbed.

Researchers who do not have an account should contact CyberVAN testbed admin by sending email with the subject line "CyberVAN Account Request".

Please include the following information in the email:

  • Your name (first and last Name) 
  • Your organization
  • Your project name and sponsoring Government organization, if applicable
  • Your reason/purpose for requesting a CyberVAN Testbed Login

Send the request to: