Defense agency holds contest for AI tools to boost cybersecurity | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, or DARPA, on Wednesday announced a new competitive grant program to design AI-based tools that can find and fix bugs in commonly used software.

The program will be a collaboration between DARPA and four top AI companies: Anthropic PBC, Microsoft Corp., Google LLC, and OpenAI Inc., Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, told reporters at a briefing Tuesday. The companies will provide their platforms as well as expertise to conduct the competition, Prabhakar said.

The contest is being launched at the annual DEFCON hacking conference starting Wednesday in Las Vegas. The program will award about $20 million in prize money, including a top prize of $4 million, said Perri Adams, the program manager at DARPA who will oversee the contest. DARPA also will fund seven small businesses each with $1 million to help them compete in the first phase of the competition, Adams said.

The winning team must “build a system that can rapidly defend critical infrastructure code from attack,” Adams said, referring to software code used by companies in critical sectors including chemicals, water, transportation and others. “We want to create systems to automatically defend any kind of software from attack, from those used in commercial industry to those running on life saving medical devices.”

The semi-final stage of the contest will be held at the 2024 DEFCON event and the finalists will be chosen at the 2025 event, Adams said.


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