DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge: Security Gurus Team To Beat Viruses for Good

The culmination of the world?EU?s first tournament of automated computer security systems is set to take place in Las Vegas, Nevada on August 4. The Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC) will be hosted by DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency) in the Paris Hotel, where seven security teams will put their automated systems to the test for a chance to win almost $4 million in prizes.

?EU?Today's approach to cybersecurity depends on computer security experts: experts identify new flaws and threats and remediate them by hand. This process can take over a year from first detection to the deployment of a solution, by which time critical systems may have already been breached,?EU? according to information on the event Web site.

The goal of the CGC is to promote the automation of cyber defense. The event will field the first generation of machines that can discover, prove and fix software flaws in real-time, without any assistance. If successful, the speed of autonomy could someday blunt the structural advantages of cyber offense, according to the CGC.

Capture the Flag

The contest is being held in conjunction with DEF CON, one of the world?EU?s largest computer security and hacking conferences. The event will consist of seven prototype automated defense systems squaring off against each other in a game of Capture the Flag.

Although it sounds like the schoolyard game played at recess, Capture the Flag is actually considered one of the ultimate test of wits in the field of computer security. Hackers and other system security experts regularly use the game, which consists of finding, proving, and fixing bugs and vulnerabilities planted in systems, to train and hone their skills.

To win, competitors have to reverse-engineer software, probe its weaknesses, search for deeply hidden flaws and create securely patched replacements. While Capture the Flag contests are...

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