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Automating Cybersecurity


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A flyswatter and a fly.

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has launched a two-year competition with a $2-million first prize for the programmers who enable computers to automatically detect intruders and the flaws they exploit to breach the network, and to repair those flaws without human intervention.

Credit: Chris Gash

The U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is holding a two-year competition with a $2-million first prize to the programming team that enables computers to detect intruders, the flaws they exploit to breach the network, and to automatically repair those flaws without human involvement.

DARPA Information Innovation Office director Daniel Kaufman says the aim of the contest is to bring cybersecurity closer to physical security. "If nothing else, we will have eliminated easy attacks and raised the cost to [hackers] of any attack," he says.

Overseeing the competition is DARPA's Michael Walker, who expects the cybersecurity challenge to spur collaboration between hackers and academic researchers, and lead to advances.

The contest is based on the hope of automating an analysis-and-defense system in which machines analyze software to spot flaws that could grant intruders access to information while devising defenses to ward off attacks. Each competitor will be given a suite of software programs with hidden, deliberate vulnerabilities that execute certain tasks on a closed computer network. The automated systems must guarantee these workaday programs continue to run as they defend themselves.

From The New York Times
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Abstracts Copyright © 2014 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


 

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