Defense Department offers $18.5 million prize to protect critical infrastructure

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The Defense Department is offering a $18.5 million prize to cybersecurity professionals who can develop innovative AI tools to protect critical infrastructure from cyberattacks.

The two-year challenge, called the AI Cyber Challenge (AIxCC), will be held in conjunction with the DEF CON hacking conferences in 2024 and 2025. Participants will compete to develop AI-powered systems that can automatically detect and defend against cyberattacks on critical infrastructure, such as power grids, water treatment plants, and transportation systems.

The AIxCC is part of Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s (DARPA) larger effort to use artificial intelligence to improve cybersecurity. The agency believes that AI has the potential to revolutionize cybersecurity by automating many of the tasks that are currently done by human analysts.

“The recent gains in AI, when used responsibly, have remarkable potential for securing our code,” said Perri Adams, program manager at DARPA’s Information Innovation Office. “This challenge is an opportunity to apply some of our greatest technical resources to protecting Americans.”

The AIxCC is open to individuals and teams from all over the world. To participate, teams must submit a proposal that outlines their approach to using AI to improve cybersecurity. The top five teams will be invited to compete in the final round of the challenge at DEF CON 2025. The winning team will receive a $4 million prize.

In addition to the prize money, the AIxCC winners will also have the opportunity to work with DARPA to further develop their technologies.

The sources for this piece include an article in Axios.

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