Thirty-five teams of security researchers have signed up to compete in DARPA's first Grand Cyber Challenge, a two-year project to develop better systems that can automatically react to security attacks. DARPA describes it as "the first computer security tournament designed to test the wits of machines, not experts." The project will culminate with a capture the flag competition at DEF CON 2016.
As described in the announcement today:
'Today’s security methods involve experts working with computerized systems to identify attacks, craft corrective patches and signatures and distribute those correctives to users everywhere -- a process that can take months from the time an attack is first launched,' said Mike Walker, DARPA program manager. 'The only effective approach to defending against today’s ever-increasing volume and diversity of attacks is to shift to fully automated systems capable of discovering and neutralizing attacks instantly.'
The Grand Cyber Challenge is DARPA's effort to accelerate that process.
To create a safe, isolated test/dev lab for the competitors, DARPA today released an open-source Linux extension, called DECREE, that is "incompatible with any other software in the world." It is also developing custom data-visualization technology that will enable spectators across the globe to follow the action.
Although the competitors have all committed themselves to a two-year project, the spoils of victory are considerable. The first-place prize is $2 million. Second place is $1 million and third-place is $750,000.
There's still time to sign up. Registration closes November 2.