VR/MR Supporting the Future of Defensive Cyber Operations

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DOI: 10.1016/j.ifacol.2019.12.093 ·
Conference: The 14th IFAC/IFIP/IFORS/IEA Symposium on Analysis, Design, and Evaluation of Human-Machine Systems, At Tallinn, Estonia
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Abstract
US Army C5ISR Center Cyber Security Service Provider (CSSP) is a 24/7 Defensive Cyber Operations (DCO) organization that defends US Department of Defense and US Army networks from hostile cyber activity, as well as develops technologies and capabilities for use by DCO operators within the DoD. In recent years, C5ISR Center CSSP has been researching various advanced data visualization concepts and strategies to enhance the speed and efficiency of cybersecurity analyst's workflow. To achieve these goals Virtual and Mixed Reality (VR/MR) tools have been employed to investigate, whether these mediums would enable useful remote collaboration of DCO operators and whether stereoscopically perceivable 3D data visualizations would enable DCO operators to gain improved hindsight into their datasets. We'll be giving overview of the capabilities being developed as aligned to our research and operational requirements, our expected outcomes of using VR/MR in training and operational cyber environments and our planned path to accomplish these goals.
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VR/MR Supporting the Future of Defensive Cyber Operations
Kaur Kullman*,
Matt Ryan**, Lee Trossbach**
*US Army Research Laboratory, Adelphi, Maryland, USA.
**C5ISR Center CSSP, Army Futures Command, Adelphi, Maryland, USA
Abstract: US Army C5ISR Center Cyber Security Service Provider (CSSP) is a 24/7 Defensive Cyber Operations
(DCO) organization that defends US Department of Defense and US Army networks from hostile cyber activity, as
well as develops technologies and capabilities for use by DCO operators within the DoD. In recent years, C5ISR Center
CSSP has been researching various advanced data visualization concepts and strategies to enhance the speed and
efficiency of cybersecurity analyst’s workflow. To achieve these goals Virtual and Mixed Reality (VR/MR) tools have
been employed to investigate, whether these mediums would enable useful remote collaboration of DCO operators and
whether stereoscopically perceivable 3D data visualizations would enable DCO operators to gain improved hindsight
into their datasets. We’ll be giving overview of the capabilities being developed as aligned to our research and
operational requirements, our expected outcomes of using VR/MR in training and operational cyber environments and
our planned path to accomplish these goals.
Keywords: Virtual and Augmented Reality; Decision Support Systems; Human Computer Interaction.
INTRODUCTION
To protect an information system, analysts need to have
actionable situational awareness of that system. To have
actionable situational awareness, analysts ingest and process
significant amounts of data from diverse sources to extract
relevant information. Adding data visualizations tools to
precise alphanumeric displays can improve the efficiency of
cybersecurity analysts workflow by providing them with a
wider context to the data they need to understand, while
extracting information from it. However, alphanumeric
displays and 2D visualizations have limited capabilities for
displaying complex, dynamic and multidimensional
information. There have been many attempts to visualize
multidimensional data in 3D, while being displayed on flat
displays, albeit with limited success.
To provide cybersecurity analysts working at C5ISR CSSP
with useful tools that would allow them to harness the potential
of stereoscopically perceivable Virtual and Mixed Reality
(look for definitions of Stereoscopy, also Virtual, Mixed and
other Realities in (Unity 3D, n.d.)) environments and
visualizations, C5ISR is building Virtual Reality Data
Analysis Environment (VRDAE), which will provide analysts
with a collaborative environment and a variety of 3D data
visualization tools, including one that can provide a
representation of the network, complete with the computers,
routers, switches and communication lines between them all
(Payer & Trossbach, The Application Of Virtual Reality for
Cyber Information Visualization and Investigation, 2015).
VRDAE is in its early stages of being tested by CSSP
cybersecurity analysts and researchers. The project has been
underway since early 2017 and a fully functioning prototype
is just starting to come out of the lab (US Army Research
Laboratory, 2018).
VRDAE environment will enable analysts to use various data
visualization tools collaboratively, two of which are currently
being developed by C5ISR and US Army Research Laboratory
(ARL): Visual Intrusion Detection System (VIDS) (Shearer &
Edwards, 2018) and Virtual Data Explorer (VDE) (Kullman,
Cowley, & Ben-Asher, Enhancing Cyber Defense Situational
Awareness Using 3D Visualizations, 2018).
APPROACH
Cybersecurity analysts ingest and process significant amounts
of data from diverse sources to acquire situational awareness
of the environment they must protect. Visualizations provide
analysts with visual representation of alphanumeric data that
would otherwise be difficult to comprehend due to its large
volume. Such visualizations aim to effectively support
analyst’s tasks including detecting, monitoring and mitigating
cyber-attacks in a timely and efficient manner (Sethi & Wills,
2017). Cybersecurity specific visualizations can be broadly
classified into three main categories: 1) network analysis, 2)
malware analysis, 3) threat analysis and situational awareness
(Sethi & Wills, 2017). Timely and efficient execution of tasks
in each of these categories may require different types of
visualizations. Herein we focus on visualizations that would
benefit analysts in 1st and 3rd category.
Security Operations Centers (or equivalent) provide limited
visualization capabilities both in the physical and logical
sense. The physical space available to install display devices
on analyst’s workspace is usually very limited (a few UHD
monitors), while universally placed larger screens can be
obstructed or otherwise difficult to purposefully employ from
analysts’ viewpoint. Therefore, analysts must allocate all
necessary applications into a few logical stacks on their
screens, limiting their ability to leverage their full field of view
and creating inefficient workflows.
While most of the analytical work is done independently using
their own screens and in their heads, analysts often need to
share their findings and consult with their colleagues or
superiors. Hence the necessity to have a standardized VR
environment (VRDAE) for (data) visualization, where
collaboration would be possible, no matter the physical
location of the participants of a session.
Stereoscopically perceivable 3D data visualizations are being
developed in parallel with VRDAE, as their development
doesn’t depend on the specifics of the VR/MR environment
where these visualizations will be used in, once ready,
provided these components will be compatible with each other
then. Hence the VIDS and VDE projects are being developed
using the Unity 3D game engine, as is VRDAE. Which
specific VR/MR technologies will be used once the software
and visualization methods are ready, can therefore be chosen
or adjusted in future, as deemed necessary.
TOOLS IN DEVELOPMENT
3.1 Virtual Reality Data Analysis Environment
VRDAE provides analysts with a collaborative environment
and a variety of 3D visualization tools. Oculus Rift headsets
are used to immerse the user in stereoscopically perceivable
virtual environment and Oculus Touch controllers are used to
capture user’s hand gestures to allow her to manipulate and sift
through the data projected into the virtual space; for example
to maneuver around the visual representation of a computer
network, zoom in to individual nodes and machines. Traffic
anomalies are represented as colored lines between machines,
and nodes that are under attack or being investigated are
surrounded by a red bubble.
User interaction with, and user experience in the virtual
environment is of keen interest. For example, the system tracks
users head movement, so is a text bubble with more detailed
information pops up when an analyst looks at a component of
interest and fixes her gaze on it. And if she needs another set
of eyes on the problem, she can invite another analyst into her
virtual space. That person might be in the next room or in a
base across the country he’ll slide on a VR headset to join
her (US Army Research Laboratory, 2018).
VRDAE will function as an operating environment for other
tools (for network and data visualization, but also for others),
abstracting user interaction and collaboration. Hence
VRDAE’s focus being more on user interaction, user
experience and user interface design.
3.2 Visual Intrusion Detection System
The VIDS project is aimed at addressing open questions in
designing and testing logical layouts of computer network
features into a 3D visualization. VIDS allows a high degree of
flexibility for users to organize data into any number of
available layouts, while allowing users to transition between
these layout states without reloading the underlying data nor
recalculating the visualization.
Another significant goal of VIDS is to research, how can
analysts best interact with data inside a 3D visualization
environment. Specifically, VIDS seeks to investigate what
interactions are feasible and, through the mechanism of analyst
feedback, what interaction mechanisms are desirable,
including functions such as filtering data, sorting data, moving
objects, and changing visual styles.
Fig. 1. Vids: Hierarchical representation of alerts in 2 different
formats.
By providing a platform to investigate these questions, VIDS
is intended as a foundation for several areas of further research.
From a basic research perspective, VIDS can be used as a
platform for evaluating what metrics of visualization utility are
useful to the analyst or Warfighter. VIDS can also be used to
evaluate what cyber symbology and iconography is most
effective for conveying meaning to analysts and decision
makers. Additionally, as a tool, VIDS can be used as it is for
visualizing a variety of data or it may be tailored in the future
to specific visualization tasks according to operational needs.
Fig. 2. Vids: Definition of node and edge in the context of
Vids, and some labelled key features.
The Vids alpha version provides a variety of data views,
currently 8 different major types, some with additional
subtypes. These are presented to the user as a set of selectable
layouts that dictate how data are arranged within the virtual 3-
D environment. Each data view has parameters that can be
adjusted by the end user. Such parameters include algorithmic
details, such as the desired radius of a randomly arranged
sphere layout or the repulsion versus attraction coefficient of a
force-directed graph layout, and feature selection details, such
as which data features should be plotted on the x, y, and z axes,
or which features should be used to form groups of nodes.
The Vids project aims to demonstrate a new direction in 3D
interactive visualization for the Army. Faced with ever-
increasing data volumes, new solutions are needed to maintain
network situational understanding. Visualizations are one way
to enable the Warfighter or network defender to process, and
most importantly, understand, a larger volume of data. By
using a modern game development platform, Vids allows
streamlined development, strong portability across operating
systems and platforms, and a variety of 3D, VR, and AR
display options. In summary, Vids is intended as a first step to
bridge the gap between network and security visualizations as
they currently exist and the envisioned future where
visualizations act as a ubiquitous and crucial aid to operations
in cyberspace. (Shearer & Edwards, 2018)
3.3 Virtual Data Explorer
Virtual Data Explorer (VDE) was developed to present users
with stereoscopically perceivable data visualizations in VR
and MR environments. For example, to visualize the
functional topology of a set of computer networks and their
members, VDE uses a configuration describing the relations
and group-memberships of (some of) the expected entities and
groups.
In the context of VDE:
Dataset values (e.g. IP addresses, their relations,
connections, sessions etc.) collected from sensors, log
files, network traffic monitors or other sources;
Data-object one instance from a dataset, that may be a
key-value pair, set of values related to an event that caused
a logline or alert to be logged, etc.;
Data-shape a specific form of data visualization, where
visual representations of nodes, connections etc. are
arranged and positioned according to their logical or
functional topology so, that the resulting visual
representations of these data-objects would be helpful for
a seasoned analysts while working with the dataset, that
this data-shape was created for, or has deemed to suit well
by a competent analyst. Data-shapes for same dataset but
different tasks may differ;
Meta-shape combined set of data-shapes that consists of
spatially positioned data-shapes, that in combination
enable to user to view relations between different data-
shapes’ and nodes therein.
Fig 3. Viewing same data-shape from three different angles.
Reddish spheres are nodes that were present in a sample used
to generate a Blue Team’s networks data-shape.
Data-shapes as such are nothing new (Hurter, 2016), but few
have tried to use stereoscopically perceivable 3D data-shapes
for computer security (Payer & Trossbach, The Application of
Virtual Reality for Cyber Information Visualization and
Investigation, 2015), while enabling the user to intuitively and
/ or with a common query language to manipulate the
visualization to better understand the underlying dataset.
Fig. 4. VDE: VR display of a Blue Team’s network topology
and behavior rendered from NATO CCDCOE Locked
Shields 2018 Partner Run dataset.
In VDE data-shapes are spatially positioned into a meta-shape
(viewed from different angles as shown in Figures 5, 6, 7, 8)
to allow the user to take advantage of stereoscopic viewing that
VR and MR provide. Multiple layouts were considered to
minimize possible edge clutter and enable convenient
distinguishability of intra- and extra-network connections and
nodes’ relations. These 3D shapes are easily understandable
while stereoscopically perceived in VR/MR headsets, but
often cluttered and unusable on a flat screen or when printed
on a paper.
Fig. 5. VDE: VR view of Locked Shields 18 Partner Run
network topology and network traffic using VDE; displaying
an overall view of the meta-shape a data-shape consisting
of multiple data-shapes. Detailed description of this layout is
found in (Kullman, Cowley, & Ben-Asher, Enhancing Cyber
Defense Situational Awareness Using 3D Visualizations,
2018).
For our recent user study, a computer networks’ topology
visualization was enriched with network session counts (as
edges) so, that the most popular connection was fully visible,
while the edge representing the least popular connection was
almost transparent. Session counts were represented as green
lines (edges) between nodes that were observed
communicating. During a VDE session, a user could adjust the
filter to expose additional sessions (edges) using VDE menu
system in VR, in which case the added edges were colored red
until a next set of edges was added; select (filter) whole
groups’ connections (by pointing at those with a controller);
select and disposition nodes by grabbing them with her hand
(controller) etc.
When the user first starts a VDE session and enters the VR or
MR scene, she looks at a scene that is positioned at such a
distance, that the meta-shape depicting the network would fit
in the view, while being visible slightly below the horizon (see
Fig 5). The floor of the VDE environment (in VR) is a dark
patterned desert that continues until it meets a horizon line that
delineates floor and skyline. The background environment is
chosen such, that it would be unobtrusive to the viewer’s task,
while providing horizon for spatial orientation. Visualized
data-shapes are floating well above the floor and a little below
the horizon line, to ease its components visibility (brighter
objects against darker background).
Contrary to self-organizing graphs which are useful for initial
examination of unknown datasets, VDE’s goal is to provide
analysts with (the ability to create) data-shapes that would help
them better comprehend datasets that are depicted as structures
they can learn to know well over time. We propose creating
data-shapes where networked entities (e.g. computers) are
positioned according to their logical (but not necessarily their
physical) topology so, that the resulting 3D structure(s) would
relate to a cybersecurity analyst’s task.
Fig 6. VDE: VR view of Locked Shields 18 Partner Run
network topology and network traffic using VDE; view from
the other side of the meta-shape, where the data-shape
consisting of unknown entities is in foreground (lower side of
this screenshot), while Blue Teams’ networks (see close-up on
Fig 4) are positioned father (on the upper side of this
screenshot). Some edges and entities have been selected and
are rendered red instead of the default green.
Prerequisite knowledge to create a VDE scene, containing a
set of proposed data-shapes for depicting a computer networks
functional topology would be to:
a) Understand the principles of how does a computer
network function; specifically, how is such a network set
up in the environment, that the author of this
visualizations needs to protect;
b) Understand of the logical grouping of networked entities
and their topology but also networked entities and
stakeholders’ goals (e.g. corporate, employees, external
{friendly, neutral, malicious} actors, etc.);
c) Understanding the expected behavior of the above actors
and how it should and would reflect on network data;
d) What indicators to look for, how to validate the findings,
how act with that combined knowhow.
Data-shapes for other datasets could be created by mapping
appropriately the mental models of these analysts, who have
the experience of working with those datasets.
In case of the example shown on the figures, the task was to
understand and explore a computer networks’ topology,
internal relations and behaviors during a cybersecurity
exercise (NATO CCDCOE Locked Shields).
To test the usefulness of using stereoscopically perceivable 3D
data-shapes for encoding non-spatial data, networked entities
that were found present in NATO CCDCOE Locked Shields
exercise’ network traffic were spatially positioned, according
to their positions in that networks functional topology, and
more importantly, entities’ affiliation with logical groups
present in LS networks. Logical groups could be distinguished
by their members’ functionality (e.g. SCADA components),
purpose (e.g. DMZ servers), risk exposure, OS etc. (see Fig 4).
This resulted in custom 3D data-shapes, that were combined to
a meta-shape (a VDE scene) representing larger whole of the
LS network(s). A meta-shape depicted on Figures 5, 6, 7, 8 are
displaying an overall view of the percept that the LS network
traffic visualization makes from a distance.
Fig 7. VR view of Locked Shields 18 Partner Run network
topology and network traffic using VDE; view from the side
of the meta-shape, where the data-shape consisting of
unknown entities are seen on the right side, while Blue Teams’
networks are curving from the upper center, to the center left,
to the lower center of the screenshot.
As we have three axises available to encode data, we chose to
use two of those axises to encode entities position in LS
networks functional topology (subnet number) and entity’s IP
addresses’ last octet or position in its subgroup while the third
axis binds to the functional or logical group of that entity.
Using the common X, Y, Z referencing, nodes are positioned
into a data-shape as seen on Fig 3 by:
X. This node’s position inside a group;
Y. The group this node belongs to;
Z. The subnet this node belongs to.
Groups contain nodes in their respective subnets, grouped into
horizontal groups according to their positions in their
functional groups (subnets). For example, Windows, Linux,
OSX workstations are positioned onto separate layers to
distinguish them visually in subnets 2 and 3, while Windows,
Linux and other servers, networks devices, etc. are kept on the
lowest group to distinguish intra-group traffic from inter-
group traffic.
For example, to expose (possibly) interesting connections
inside a network that a Blue Team had to protect, it’s entities
were first positioned according to their subnet and then by their
functional groups servers, network devices, workstations
(distinguished further by their type (Windows, Linux, OSX)),
and SCADA components among others (see Figure 1). The
third dimension is entity’s sequential position inside of its
subgroup (often the last octet of its IP address). Because the
designated functions (and therefore behavior) of the entities in
same functional group should be similar, it is beneficial for the
analyst to have them close together, while still being spatially
distinguishable to quickly diagnose which group and which
member to focus on.
At the start of the exercise, there were 20 functionally identical
Blue Teams’ networks, whose entities should have been
communicating identically, but as the exercise advanced, the
Blue Teams’ networks’ behavior (in this case, entities’ activity
and relative connections / edges) deteriorated from each
other’s. Each Blue Team’s network had 68 preconfigured
nodes, and the teams could add two virtual machines per their
specifications.
Fig 8. MR view of Locked Shields 18 Partner Run network
topology and network traffic using VDE; user is selecting a
Blue Team’s network with index finger).
To validate the usefulness of such visualizations, a study was
recently conducted (Kullman, Ben-Asher, & Sample, Operator
Impressions of 3D Visualizations for Cybersecurity Analysts,
2019) to capture cybersecurity analysts’ impressions of a
network topology presented as a stereoscopically perceivable
3D data-shape.
Overall, the impressions towards stereoscopically-perceivable
3D data visualizations were highly favorable. Multiple
participants acknowledged that such 3D visualizations of
network topology could assist in their understanding of the
networks they use daily. Participants expressed a wish to
integrate such visualization capabilities in their workflow.
Prior experience with 3D displays had no influence on user
preferences, while participants with prior gaming experience
adjusted quickly to the Oculus Touch motion controllers,
suggesting that the relevant dexterity and muscle memory for
gaming console controller usage helps users adjusting from
those controllers to handling input devices for VR experiences.
Results of this study show, that customized, stereoscopically
perceivable 3D data visualizations aligned with seasoned
analysts’ internal representations of a dataset may enhance
their and other analysts’ capability in having actionable
situational awareness of that dataset in ways that textual
information and 2D nor 3D visualizations on flat displays
cannot afford (Kullman, Ben-Asher, & Sample, Operator
Impressions of 3D Visualizations for Cybersecurity Analysts,
2019).
Overall, the impressions towards stereoscopically perceivable
3D data visualizations were highly favorable. Multiple
participants acknowledged that such 3D visualizations of
network topology could assist in their understanding of the
networks they use daily.
Please see videos of the layouts at: https://coda.ee/IFACHMS
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION
We argue that there is a need for structured evaluation of
visualizations that are created based on an analyst’s
internalized understanding of a dataset. Current technology is
good enough for stereoscopically perceivable (3D) data
visualizations; preliminary work also demonstrates that
through purposeful interaction with subject matter experts it is
possible to identify the core concepts of their mental models
for relevant datasets, and to create matching data-shapes for
those.
Further research is needed to understand, how generalizable
are the data-shapes over different types of networks, cyber
operations, analyst past training and other individual
differences. However, the benefits of harnessing human
visual-perception for cybersecurity can provide that much
needed advantage to cyber defenders.
Further research is needed to understand what specific 3D data
shapes would be useful, and for which datasets (e.g. other than
computer network topology) should we create additional 3D
visualizations for, that would be helpful for analysts’ tasks and
would enable us to test the usefulness of those visualizations
in working environments.
Follow-up studies should also evaluate operator performance
in 3D environments, be it then for collaboration, situational
awareness, data analysis or other cybersecurity related task.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
VRDAE team Barry Byrd, Alexander Rieschick.
VIDS team Joshua Edwards, Gregory Shearer.
For all the hints, ideas and mentoring, authors thank Alexander
Kott, Jennifer Cowley, Jaan Priisalu and Olaf Manuel
Maennel.
This research was partly supported by the Army Research
Laboratory under Cooperative Agreement Number (CA)
W911NF-16-2-0008. The views and conclusions contained in
this document are those of the authors and should not be
interpreted as representing the official policies, either
expressed or implied, of the Army Research Laboratory or the
U.S. Government. The U.S. Government is authorized to
reproduce and distribute reprints for Government purposes
notwithstanding any copyright notation herein.
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  • ... As noted in [2], cybersecurity-specific visualizations can be broadly classified into a) network analysis, b) malware analysis, c) threat analysis and situational awareness. Timely and efficient execution of tasks in each of these categories may require different types of visualizations addressed by a growing number of cybersecurity-specific visualization tools (for examples and descriptions of such see [3], [5] and [6]) as well as universal 1 As designated PR-CDA-001 and bearing responsibilities for tasks identified in [18] 2 As designated PR-CIR-001 and bearing responsibilities for tasks identified in [18] 3 As designated OM-NET-001 and bearing responsibilities for tasks identified in [18] software with visualization capabilities. These tools could be used to visualize data in myriad ways (for examples and descriptions of such see [7]) so that SMEs could explore their data visually and interactively (for interaction techniques see [8]). ...
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    The area of visualization in cyber-security is advancing at a fast pace. However, there is a lack of standardized guidelines for designing and evaluating the resulting visualizations. Furthermore, limited end-user involvement in the design process leads to visualizations that are generic and often ineffective for cyber-security analysts. Thus, the adoption of the resultant cyber-security visualizations is low and this highlights a major research gap. This paper presents expert-interview based validation of EEVi - a model developed to aid in the design and evaluation process of cyber-security visualizations, with a view to make them more effective for cyber-security analysts. A visualization is considered effective if the characteristics of the visualization are essential for an analyst to competently perform a certain task. Thirteen experts were interviewed (six visualization designers and seven cyber-security analysts) and their feedback guided revisions to the model. The responses were subsequently transposed from qualitative data to quantitive data in order to perform statistical analyses on the overall data. This demonstrated that the perspectives of visualization designers and cyber-security analysts generally agreed in their views of effective characteristics for cyber- security visualization, however there was no statistically significant correlation in their responses.
  • Chapter
    Performing the analysis of security data in the prevention of cyber-attacks on an organization’s information systems requires human analysts to make sense of ever-expanding amounts of information. In many security operation centers (SOCs), human analysts are presented with information through the use of multiple monitors. Information is processed using a number of commercial off-the-shelf and custom tools in order to carve information into sets of alerts that analysts can investigate. The amount and complexity of the data being presented to the analyst can significantly overwhelm a single or multiple displays. This avalanche of display information is alongside the additional research an analyst must perform in order to provide proper context to the alerts analysts may be investigating. Analyst investigations can include a number of competing interfaces. A non-exhaustive list includes web browsers with numerous tabs, documents, collaboration software, and both Graphical User Interface (GUI) and Command Line Interface (CLI) based command and control software. Adding additional monitors can lead to a diminishing rate of return in information processing as analysts now must physically observe multiple panels in fixed positions. With a virtual reality (VR) head-mounted (VRH) display, the display space for visualizing different information and data pertaining to cyber events becomes almost limitless. The information being displayed is no longer specifically restricted to a few small rectangular displays but is perceived as nearly infinite space. The OR can open the door to developing significantly more advanced VR experiences. Using more advanced VR technology not only can more information be displayed, but VR displays open the door to new and innovative visualization techniques, which enables us to model security information in new ways and which allows for the efficient identification of malicious behavior within information systems.
  • Book
    Our society has entered a data-driven era, one in which not only are enormous amounts of data being generated daily but there are also growing expectations placed on the analysis of this data. Some data have become simply too large to be displayed and some have too short a lifespan to be handled properly with classical visualization or analysis methods. In order to address these issues, this book explores the potential solutions where we not only visualize data, but also allow users to be able to interact with it. Therefore, this book will focus on two main topics: large dataset visualization and interaction.Graphic cards and their image processing power can leverage large data visualization but they can also be of great interest to support interaction. Therefore, this book will show how to take advantage of graphic card computation power with techniques called GPGPUs (general-purpose computing on graphics processing units). As specific examples, this book details GPGPU usages to produce fast enough visualization to be interactive with improved brushing techniques, fast animations between different data representations, and view simplifications (i.e. static and dynamic bundling techniques).Since data storage and memory limitation is less and less of an issue, we will also present techniques to reduce computation time by using memory as a new tool to solve computationally challenging problems. We will investigate innovative data processing techniques: while classical algorithms are expressed in data space (e.g. computation on geographic locations), we will express them in graphic space (e.g., raster map like a screen composed of pixels). This consists of two steps: (1) a data representation is built using straightforward visualization techniques; and (2) the resulting image undergoes purely graphical transformations using image processing techniques. This type of technique is called image-based visualization.The goal of this book is to explore new computing techniques using image-based techniques to provide efficient visualizations and user interfaces for the exploration of large datasets. This book concentrates on the areas of information visualization, visual analytics, computer graphics, and human-computer interaction. This book opens up a whole field of study, including the scientific validation of these techniques, their limitations, and their generalizations to different types of datasets.