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DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge top two teams were awarded $2 million and $1 million

DARPA officials this morning released partial final, audited results of yesterday’s all-day Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC) Final Event—the world’s first all-machine cyber hacking tournament—and confirmed that the top-scoring machine was Mayhem, developed by team ForAllSecure of Pittsburgh.

Second place was formally awarded to Xandra, a cyber reasoning system developed by TECHx of Ithaca, N.Y., and Charlottesville, Va.

The third-place designation is pending verification by the Cyber Grand Challenge Competition Framework Team and the DARPA Verification team. The DARPA Verification team is currently engaged in a third run of its event replay verification system.

At a ceremony held in the ballroom of the Paris Las Vegas Conference Center, DARPA Director Arati Prabhakar and CGC program manager Mike Walker congratulated the winners and thanked all of the seven competing finalist teams for helping DARPA achieve its goal of accelerating the development of advanced, autonomous systems that can detect, evaluate, and patch software vulnerabilities before adversaries have a chance to exploit them.

After some 8 hours of battle at a ballroom held in the Paris  hotel Las Vegas Conference Center in conjunction with DEF CON, America’s biggest hacking conference and home to many of the world’s top cyber defense experts. Paris (some highlights), the victor emerged.

All teams received trophies for their efforts and the top two teams were awarded $2 million and $1 million, respectively, on top of the $750,000 each of the 7 finalists already received.. The other five contestants were:

  • Mechanical Phish, a system developed by Shellphish of Santa Barbara, Calif.
  • Rubeus, a system developed by Deep Red of Arlington, Va.
  • Galactica, a system developed by CodeJitsu of Berkeley, Ca., Syracuse, N.Y., and Lausanne, Switzerland
  • Jima, a system developed by CSDS of Moscow, Id.
  • Crspy, a system developed by disekt of Athens, Ga.

“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,” Prabhakar said. “Our 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.”

Seven teams were invited to Las Vegas to compete on the floor in a 96-round game of “Capture the Flag.” It’s a time-tested competitive hacking game in which teams are assigned servers which must perform certain tasks while constantly being fed new code filled with bugs, security holes, and inefficiencies. Teams must protect their own data while attempting to access that of the others — much like real-life CTF.
The difference in this game is that the players in the game were totally autonomous. Normally a human would be looking at and correcting the code, choosing whether and whom to attack, and so on — but for the CGC, all that has to be done by the system.

The idea is, of course, to produce systems that can patch themselves, watch for intrusions, and so on, with minimal human interaction. It’d be nice to know that your computer is looking out for itself.

Source: DARPA

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