Short Bytes: Are automated “computer hackers” better than human hackers? DARPA is answering this question in positive and looking to prove its point with the help of its Cyber Grand Challenge. The contest finale will feature seven powerful computer fighting against each other. The winner of the contest will challenge human hackers at the annual DEF CON hacking conference.
DARPA is looking to prove that its computers are “the perfect hackers”. To do the same, the winning team will compete against the human hackers at DEF CON’s annual capture-the-flag event. It will also grab a $2 million prize money.
To compete in this challenge’s final, seven teams have been selected. These entries from the security industry and research fields will be pitting against the computers provided by DARPA. These computers will be running DARPA’s special software suite developed for this event.
These seven teams were selected from the initial phase of a contest held last summer. They are now given $750,000 and a powerful computer with 16TB memory and 1,000 processor cores.
For scoring points and winning the contest, the participant’s computer must find and trigger bugs in the software of opponent team. They’ll need to take security cautions and defend their own system, obviously.
The DARPA program manager, Mike Walker, who is leading this project, says that DARPA aims to make an autonomous system that can detect the security flaws in a software on its own and patch the same without any crash event. He claims that such efforts are a way to make this world a safer place.
The security flaws in software go unnoticed for around 312 days on an average, according to Walker. He adds that after some flaw is noticed by security experts, it takes some time to understand it and develop a fix.
DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge aims to fasten this cycle by employing bot hackers that can find a problem on their own within minutes, or seconds.
“If technology is democratized, then we don’t believe that nefarious misuse will be feasible, because the bugs that will be found will already have been patched,” Walker said.
Do you agree with DARPA’s views? Are computer hackers more efficient that human hackers? Share your views in the comments below.