Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Vulnerabilities / Threats

7/15/2016
11:30 AM
Steve Zurier
Steve Zurier
Slideshows
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Meet The Teams In DARPA's All-Machine Hacking Tournament

"Autonomous security" is DARPA's latest game. Its Cyber Grand Challenge will culminate at DEF CON with a contest to see which of these seven finalists' machines will automatically detect and remediate the most security vulnerabilities.
Previous
1 of 8
Next

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has a proud tradition of seeding research projects that lead to some of the world’s most important technology developments.

It was DARPA that funded the original research in the 1970s that led to the creation of the Internet and a decade ago, DARPA was behind some of the first research on autonomous cars, which are slowly becoming a reality.

Now, through the Cyber Grand Challenge, culminating Aug. 4 during DEF CON, DARPA aims to develop autonomous security systems that can analyze bugs and rapidly repair vulnerabilities in computer systems.

Mike Walker, the DARPA program manager who headed up the Cyber Grand Challenge, says that analysts have estimated that on average, security flaws go unremediated for 10 months before being discovered and patched. This gives bad actors ample opportunity to wreak havoc on affected systems before they move on to exploit other machines.

Walker adds that is can take up to three weeks for security professionals to patch a system once malware is discovered. That’s just too long a window for bad actors to do damage.

The Cyber Grand Challenge, which was launched in 2013, aims to build autonomous systems that can bring the remediation time down to minutes or even seconds. Walker says that the conventional wisdom that says it’s only a matter of time when systems will be hacked as opposed to if they will be attacked is not acceptable today. Organizations rely on their computer systems to get work done and grow businesses and they must be kept safe. In fact, the world’s financial systems run on computers today and everything hinges on a sense of trust by the public that they are secure.

“Our role at DARPA is to see beyond the status quo and imagine something better -- a future where the network is defensible by default  -- and then chart a path to get there,” Walker says.

The seven finalists were selected among more than 100 teams that applied to win the cash prizes and gain exposure for their organizations. The top prize is $2 million, second prize $1 million and third prize $750,000.

Each of the finalists were given autonomous reasoning machines (ARMs) developed by DARPA and asked to write code that will let the machines function at a high level in cyber defense contests.

On August 4 at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas during DEF CON, DARPA will release previously undisclosed code into a computer testbed and the seven machines will be challenged in a Capture the Flag format to find and patch within seconds the flawed code that’s vulnerable to be hacked. The goal is for the machines to find their opponents' weaknesses before the defending systems do. The teams will score points for defending their machines and lose points when the other teams find vulnerabilities.

Walker adds that the real goal of the Cyber Grand Challenge is to prove the viability of autonomous cyber defense.

“At a minimum, we’ll learn a lot from seeing how the systems fare against each other, and if we can even provide a clear proof of concept for autonomous cyber defense, that would be revolutionary,” he says. “In the same way that the Wright Brothers’ first flight didn’t go very far, but launched a chain of events that quickly made the world a much smaller place, a convincing demonstration that automated cyber defense is truly doable would be a major paradigm shift and would speed the day when networked attackers no longer have the advantage they enjoy today.”

The following slides provide an overview of each of the finalists, plus links to videos about the teams.

 

Steve Zurier has more than 30 years of journalism and publishing experience and has covered networking, security, and IT as a writer and editor since 1992. Steve is based in Columbia, Md. View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Previous
1 of 8
Next
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
WilliamM024
100%
0%
WilliamM024,
User Rank: Apprentice
7/25/2016 | 4:05:58 AM
PC Error
The Team DARPA can block the hacker for company only or also individual computer owner. Many user they try to Fix Pc Error with their own to minimize budget cost.
COVID-19: Latest Security News & Commentary
Dark Reading Staff 11/19/2020
New Proposed DNS Security Features Released
Kelly Jackson Higgins, Executive Editor at Dark Reading,  11/19/2020
How to Identify Cobalt Strike on Your Network
Zohar Buber, Security Analyst,  11/18/2020
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Write a Caption, Win an Amazon Gift Card! Click Here
Latest Comment: A GONG is as good as a cyber attack.
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2020-25660
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
A flaw was found in the Cephx authentication protocol in versions before 15.2.6 and before 14.2.14, where it does not verify Ceph clients correctly and is then vulnerable to replay attacks in Nautilus. This flaw allows an attacker with access to the Ceph cluster network to authenticate with the Ceph...
CVE-2020-25688
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
A flaw was found in rhacm versions before 2.0.5 and before 2.1.0. Two internal service APIs were incorrectly provisioned using a test certificate from the source repository. This would result in all installations using the same certificates. If an attacker could observe network traffic internal to a...
CVE-2020-25696
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
A flaw was found in the psql interactive terminal of PostgreSQL in versions before 13.1, before 12.5, before 11.10, before 10.15, before 9.6.20 and before 9.5.24. If an interactive psql session uses \gset when querying a compromised server, the attacker can execute arbitrary code as the operating sy...
CVE-2020-26229
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
TYPO3 is an open source PHP based web content management system. In TYPO3 from version 10.4.0, and before version 10.4.10, RSS widgets are susceptible to XML external entity processing. This vulnerability is reasonable, but is theoretical - it was not possible to actually reproduce the vulnerability...
CVE-2020-28984
PUBLISHED: 2020-11-23
prive/formulaires/configurer_preferences.php in SPIP before 3.2.8 does not properly validate the couleur, display, display_navigation, display_outils, imessage, and spip_ecran parameters.