DARPA Launches Cyber Grand Challenge

By David Bruggeman
June 3, 2014

Today marks the start of the Cyber Grand Challenge, organized by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).  The New York Times has a lengthy article on the challenge, which involves over 35 teams deploying automated cybersecurity solutions.  There’s also an extensive commercial website devoted to the event.  The teams will receive a suite of programs with hidden flaws.  The challenge is to detect and address the security flaws while permitting the infected programs to do their intended jobs.

This is the qualifying round of the Challenge.  The top seven teams will receive money to prepare for a final round, planned for 2016 in Las Vegas and held concurrently to that year’s Def Con.  The winning team would receive $2 million, with $1 million going to the second place team and $500,000 to the third place team.

DARPA has had success with previous Grand Challenges, including their work on autonomous vehicles.  The agency expects that work on this challenge would prompt developments in the following:

  • Expert-level software security analysis and remediation, at machine speeds on enterprise scales
  • Establishment of a lasting competition community for automated cyber defense
  • Identification of thought leaders for the future of cybersecurity
  • Creation of a public, high-fidelity recording of real time competition between automatic systems

While the competition officially begins today, teams may register to participate through November 2 of this year.