DARPA's Cyber Grand Challenge pits bot security systems against each other

It sounds like the seeds of a end-of-days sci-fi hit, but DARPA knows what it's doing, right? It's establishing the first-ever tournament for automated network defenses, in which systems would compete against each other to test vulnerabilities, make security patches, and generally wage digital war on each other. The aim of its Cyber Grand Challenge is to "vastly improve" the effectiveness and speed of DARPA's own IT security, in a digital world rife with what it says are "escalating cyber threats." Dan Kaufman, director of DARPA's Information Innovation Office which organized the Challenge, said: "The trends we've seen in cyber attacks and malware point to a future where automation must be developed to assist IT security analysts." The competition will involve a qualifying stage, where the team would have to pass a series of software challenges, followed by a final event, planned for mid-2016. It could be worth the wait for competitors -- the winners will net $2 million, while second and third place will receive $1 million and $750,000 respectively.