Visual Analytics

Our focus is Information Visualization: presenting complex information in an interactive visual format to help make sense of it all.



The goal of WhyViz is to conduct study of the effectiveness of visualizations on cyber operator performance during the early stages of incident handling, which require operators to review an endless alert queue of cyber event data to identify, record and report suspicious behavior or cyber events of interest. Most cybersecurity visualizations are currently used for historical analyses, however, as part of the WhyViz project, Secure Decisions will develop visualizations to support real-time, in situ processing that is actually being performed by cyber operators to facilitate event detection and preliminary event analysis.

In Phase I of this Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) we applied knowledge elicitation (KE) methods to define specific examples of cognitive work that occur in the early stages of incident handling that have the potential for being enhanced (faster, more accurate, more complete) through the use of visualizations by the cyber operator. This cognitive work took the form of the operator seeking to answer specific analytic questions using the available data, in a severely time-constrained work environment. A KE with domain practitioners revealed that cyber operators regularly ask fundamental analytical questions that cut across specific tasks and roles. Our research identified the type of information operators need to answer these questions, the visualization concepts that represent that information in a visual form that can be rapidly comprehended and acted on, and methods to transform raw cyber sensor data into a form that can be used to populate the visualizations. In Phase II of the project we will conduct an experimental to objectively evaluate the effects of these visualization on operator performance.

Read our publication on: Cyber Operator Perspectives on Security Visualization





MeerCAT® is a visual analytics tool designed to help users locate wireless assets and networks, and assess the risks to their organization. Initially developed for and in close collaboration with the U.S. Department of Defense, MeerCAT integrates data from wireless discovery and other security applications with a geographic information system (GIS) to provide a unified view of detected wireless devices, their vulnerabilities and threats.




Critical infrastructures can be vulnerable to cyber attacks through 802.11 wireless networks. WildCAT is a prototype system that enables integration of physical and cyber security resources in order to detect and immediately respond to wireless threats. It is designed to use physical security vehicles as a platform to collect wireless activity and send the data via a cellular network to an analysis center.



VIAssist is a visual analysis platform to help network security analysts protect their networks. It provides visual tools for theevaluation of network flow and security data. VIAssist presents multiple, coordinated views – highlighted or filtered data in one view is reflected in all other views – to provide different visual perspectives of the data. These views transform network data into a collection of interactive visualizations that make it easier to analyze data, to see patterns and trends, and to identify risks and actionable information.