DARPA wants to create self-healing code to combat viruses

Aug 1, 2016 - 11:19pm AST

Even though people are becoming more tech-savvy by using programs like script and ad-blocks, and anti-virus scanners, viruses and malware still pose a major problem in today’s tech generation.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) wants to team up with some of the best coders to develop a program to actively hunt for security vulnerabilities in software and patch them before they get exploited by hackers.

The one difference with this objective is that they’re aiming for a fully autonomous program that can find and develop its own security patches to plug weaknesses rather than waiting for human intervention.

They are hosting the Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC) event on August 4th in Las Vegas, where 7 prototype computer systems will square off against each other in a Capture The Flag tournament.

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Noooo. We’re not talking about a Call of Duty LAN party!

In this type of CTF event, “experts reverse-engineer software, probe its weaknesses, search for deeply hidden flaws and create securely patched replacements.” The difference here is that instead of the programmers fighting against each other, the computer systems will be doing it entirely on their own.

Companies spend millions of dollars paying programmers to find weaknesses in various software scripts, and even they don’t do such a good job of it. That’s why sites like Facebook and Twitter offer bug bounties for weaknesses discovered by third party white-hat hackers.

Having an autonomous system scanning for flaws and patching them on spot would be a huge step above present virus and malware scanners which are only capable of discovered malicious programming that they’ve been told about already (via their virus database).

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