Welcome to DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge

Department of Defense

Topics: DARPA, Defense, Security

Transcript Excerpt

In Las Vegas 2015, hackers gathered at DEF CON to play Capture the Flag, the game of choice for cybersecurity experts to train and test their skills. DARPA Program Manager Mike Walker announced the plans for the Cyber–Grand Challenge final event. The CGC final event is historic; it will be an all-computers cyber defense tournament in which no humans are allowed the first of its kind. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, DARPA is hosting the challenge to stimulate the development of autonomy in cybersecurity, the computers the cyber reasoning systems, the teams will program will compete and a $3.75 million prize pool with a $2 million grand. The computers will compete in a game of capture the flag. Capture the Flag is a speed-driven bug hunting contest on binary. And people who can succeed at the top level of capturing the flag are the world’s great bug hunters. And they can use that skill to look for bugs in the code that runs our civilization. DARPA posted the call for applicants to develop autonomous cyber reasoning systems capable of comprehending and protecting software. Over 100 teams from all over the world responded after three qualifying events. seven finalists were announced. The teams are competing for more than the money. There is a sense of urgency in their work. The more we rely on computer-controlled things in our lives, the more we open ourselves up to computer intrusions and attacks. It’s called the Internet of Things. There is trouble in trusting these devices when they are vulnerable and therefore hackable; finding and fixing vulnerabilities currently lies entirely in human hands, and humans are overwhelmed. The idea behind this is that in the cyber world, things move so fast. That it’s impossible for humans to react, so we’ve got to come up with automated defense for it. Now, we know that machines have the speed and the scale but do not have the expertise as humans do. Therefore, DARPA wants to build defensible networks and put networks and technologies in more and more things, to find a way to make them safer as it is a challenge for civilization.

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