MMM Client Alert: DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge Hopes to Automate Cybersecurity Defense

by Bradford G. Schweizer 

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a two-year cybersecurity competition that aims to have competing teams create fully automated network security systems. These systems are intended to be capable of reasoning through the flaws that create software vulnerabilities, formulating the appropriate software patches, and then deploying the patches on a network to fix the problem in real time. DARPA has called this competition the Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC). Here is a link to an overview.

In the Cyber Grand Challenge, competitors will compete in a qualifying event by presenting a system that can automatically identify, prove, and repair flaws in a piece of software. Those competitors that display top performance in the qualifying round will be invited to the CGC final event, to take place in early to mid-2016. Teams will be scored against each other based on how capably their systems can protect hosts, scan the network for vulnerabilities, and automatically repair those vulnerabilities. All of this must be done while maintaining the correct function of the software. Ultimately, the winning team will receive $2 million in prize money. The second-place team will take home $1 million, and the third-place team will receive $750,000.

The CGC is designed to enhance the development of automated security systems that are able to defend against a cyber-attack in real time. Currently, expert programmers must manually identify and repair system weaknesses. This process typically occurs after attackers have already taken advantage of the network weakness to steal data or disrupt the network. As more and more devices become part of the same network, which has become known as “the Internet of things,” the need to be able to respond to a cyber-attack as it is happening has become critically important. DARPA hopes to accelerate this capability through the CGC.

Teams may continue to register for the CGC through November 2, 2014. Teams can register here. In addition, here are the CGC rules and some frequently asked questions.


The information presented and contained within this video are provided by MMM as general information only, and do not, and are not intended to constitute legal, employment or tax advice. Any opinions expressed within this video are solely the opinion of the individual author(s). For more information, contact Bradford G. Schweizer: