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Winners of DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge Announced

DARPAcgc winners Mayhem

Earlier this week, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) concluded the final event of its Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC)—the world’s first all-machine cyber hacking tournament. Seven teams participated in the preliminary round of the eight-plus-hours competition at the Paris Las Vegas Conference Center. The CGC was carried out in conjunction with DEF CON, the nation’s largest hacking conference that is also home to many of the world’s top cyber security experts.

Teams competed for the top three awards of $2 million, $1 million, and $750,000. The top-scoring machine, aptly named Mayhem, developed by team ForAllSecure of Pittsburgh, Pa., took home the top honors. Second place was went to team TECHx with their cyber reasoning system, Xandra. Rounding out the top three winners was team Shellphish with their Mechanical Phish machine.

The prize competition was conducted by DARPA to call forth innovators who could demonstrate their cyber defense skills and create advanced autonomous systems to detect, evaluate, and patch software vulnerabilities before potential cyber enemies have the chance to exploit them.

DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar, commenting on the CGC competition and what advances in cyber security mean, stated that “DARPA was created nearly 60 years ago to prevent technological surprise, and I can think of no better way of doing that in today’s networked world than by developing automated, scalable systems able to find and fix software vulnerabilities at machine speed. [DARPA’s] goal in cyber is to break past the reactive patch cycle we're living in today, and unleash the positive power and creative potential of the information revolution.”

Team ForAllSecure’s Mayhem system will go on to participate in DEF CON’s Capture the Flag—a skills-testing game played by some of the world’s top cyber vulnerability researchers. The game, which runs for 48 hours, started soon after the CGC winner was announced.

A video about team ForAllSecure’s Mayhem project and software security goals is at https://youtu.be/U4Mvj4SwKLo.

For more details on the CGC results, visit http://www.darpa.mil/news-events/2016-08-05a.

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