Designing and Executing the World’s First All-Computer Hacking Competition: A panel with the development team presented at ShmooCon 2017

by Brian Caswell, Tim Vidas, Chris Eagle, Jason Wright, Mike Thompson, Holt Sorenson,

Summary : On August 4th, 2016, in conjunction with the DEF CON hacking convention, seven fully autonomous systems vied against each other for a two million dollar grand prize. These systems were designed to hack and defend previously unseen computer software, ultimately making sense of zero-day attacks — without any human assistance. Answering DARPA’s call, international teams from academia and industry designed these systems for more than two years pushing the art and science of program analysis, vulnerability discovery and mitigation. During the final event, the competing autonomous systems demonstrated that machines could discover, prove, and patch zero-day software flaws in just a few minutes, a feat beyond the capabilities of any human network defense team. DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge employed a custom operating system, a unique executable file format, and novel IDS format resulting the the most reproducible head-to-head capture-the-flag contest ever conducted. This panel is comprised of the Competition Framework Development team, the team responsible for architecting and engineering the contest as well as orchestration of the competition. In this panel, the speakers will convey insight into the design and implementation of the Cyber Grand Challenge, revealing previously secret strategies and tools and answering questions from the audience.