DARPA Names Shellphish Hacking Team as Finalist in the Cyber Grand Challenge

DARPA Names Shellphish Hacking Team as Finalist in the Cyber Grand Challenge

Team Shellphish, a group of computer science students from UC Santa Barbara and other institutions led by Lastline founders and UCSB university professors, Dr. Giovanni Vigna and Dr. Christopher Kruegel, has advanced to the finals of DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC).

The CGC, described as the “the ultimate test of wits in computer security,” is an open competition designed to foster innovation from top academic and corporate computer scientists across the nation. Participants of the CGC are pitted against each other and challenged to reverse engineer software, search for deeply hidden flaws on competitors’ computers, and exploit weaknesses – all while devising defenses to fend off attacks from the other teams. In essence, the teams must build autonomous vulnerability assessment and patching programs that concurrently hack competitors’ machines and protect their own, without direct human intervention.

Shellphish was one of 104 teams to originally register for the contest in 2014. After two dry runs, 28 teams remained. And earlier this month after an intensive qualifying event, DARPA named Shellphish as a finalist, along with six other teams, and awarded each $750,000.

The involvement of Lastline’s founders in a competition like the CGC, which promises to ignite education and support the development of novel approaches to automated vulnerability analysis and remediation, clearly shows how innovation is an integral part of Lastline’s DNA.

Want to watch Shellphish compete live?

DARPA is developing custom data visualization technology to make it easy for spectators to follow the action in real time during the final contest at DEF CON in Las Vegas in August 2016, where all seven teams will compete for more than $4 million in prizes – and some serious bragging rights.