These engineers are developing artificially intelligent hackers

The best security, at least for now, is a combination of humans and machines, according to one engineer. ‘Until we have fully sentient machines, they still have to be instructed by humans.’ Photograph: Alamy Could you invent an autonomous hacking system that could find and fix vulnerabilities in computer systems before criminals could exploit them, and without any human being involved? That’s the challenge faced by seven teams competing in Darpa’s Cyber Grand Challenge in August. Each of the teams has already won $750,000 for qualifying and must now put their hacking systems up against six others in a game of “capture the flag”. The software must be able to attack the other team’s vulnerabilities as well as find and fix weaknesses in their own software – all while protecting…


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