Bot Mayhem takes first place in DARPA Cyber Challenge

DARPA issued the Cyber Grand Challenge in 2013.
DARPA issued the Cyber Grand Challenge in 2013.

Team ForAllSecure won the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge defeating six other finalists and taking home a $2 million award for its bot Mayhem, which is the first fully automated cybersecurity defense system.

Mayhem was able to automatically reverse engineer an unknown binary software and handle multiple defensive measures taking the first step in what DARPA hopes will be a long line of software capable of fending off hackers with no human assistance.

“Our vision is to check the world's software for exploitable bugs so they can be fixed before attackers use them to hack computers,” David Brumley, ForAllSecure CEO and director of Carnegie Mellon's CyLab Security and Privacy Institute, said in a written statement.

Mayhem immediately accepted a challenge to participate in the infamous Def Con Capture the Flag hacker skills contest. The game will run for the three-day length of the show.

“We can possibly look forward to a time when machines can self-protect,” said Mike Walker, DARPA program manager for the Cyber Challenge.

Walker compared Mayhem's accomplishment to the winner of another DARPA challenge. In 2005 a self-driving car named Stanley won a DARPA award for autonomous driving. Now we have a variety of cars capable of doing very well, what Stanley could do in a rudimentary fashion, Walker said.

The award was given on August 5 during the Def Con conference held at the Paris Hotel in Las Vegas.

The other finalists were teams Disekt with its bot CRSPY; CSDS with Jima; Code Jitsu with Galactica; Deep Red with Rubeus; Shellfish with Mechanical Phish; and Tech X with Xandra.

The Cyber Grand Challenge was issued in 2013.

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