Biden-⁠Harris Administration Launches Artificial Intelligence Cyber Challenge to Protect America’s Critical Software

White House

Several leading AI companies – Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI – to partner with DARPA in major competition to make software more secure

The Biden-Harris Administration today launched a major two-year competition that will use artificial intelligence (AI) to protect the United States’ most important software, such as code that helps run the internet and our critical infrastructure.  The “AI Cyber Challenge” (AIxCC) will challenge competitors across the United States, to identify and fix software vulnerabilities using AI. Led by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), this competition will include collaboration with several top AI companies – Anthropic, Google, Microsoft, and OpenAI – who are lending their expertise and making their cutting-edge technology available for this challenge. This competition, which will feature almost $20 million in prizes, will drive the creation of new technologies to rapidly improve the security of computer code, one of cybersecurity’s most pressing challenges. It marks the latest step by the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure the responsible advancement of emerging technologies and protect Americans.

The Biden-Harris Administration announced AIxCC at the Black Hat USA Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada, the nation’s largest hacking conference, which for decades has produced many cybersecurity innovations. By finding and fixing vulnerabilities in an automated and scalable way, AIxCC fits into this tradition. It will demonstrate the potential benefits of AI to help secure software used across the internet and throughout society, from the electric grids that power America to the transportation systems that drive daily life.

DARPA will host an open competition in which the competitor that best secures vital software will win millions of dollars in prizes. AI companies will make their cutting-edge technology—some of the most powerful AI systems in the world—available for competitors to use in designing new cybersecurity solutions. To ensure broad participation and a level playing field for AIxCC, DARPA will also make available $7 million to small businesses who want to compete.

Teams will participate in a qualifying event in Spring 2024, where the top scoring teams (up to 20) will be invited to participate in the semifinal competition at DEF CON 2024, one of the world’s top cybersecurity conferences. Of these, the top scoring teams (up to five) will receive monetary prizes and continue to the final phase of the competition, to be held at DEF CON 2025. The top three scoring competitors in the final competition will receive additional monetary prizes.

The top competitors will make a meaningful difference in cybersecurity for America and the world. The Open Source Security Foundation (OpenSSF), a project of the Linux Foundation, will serve as a challenge advisor. It will also help ensure that the winning software code is put to use right away protecting America’s most vital software and keeping the American people safe.

Today’s announcement is part of a broader commitment by the Biden-Harris Administration to ensure that the power of AI is harnessed to address the nation’s great challenges, and that AI is developed safely and responsibly to protect Americans from harm and discrimination. Last month, the Biden-Harris Administration announced it had secured voluntary commitments from seven leading AI companies to manage the risks posed by the technology. Earlier this year, the Administration announced a commitment from several AI companies to participate in an independent, public evaluation of large language models (LLMs)—consistent with responsible disclosure principles—at DEF CON 2023. This exercise, which starts later this week and is the first-ever public assessment of multiple LLMs, will help advance safer, more secure and more transparent AI development.

In addition, the Biden-Harris Administration is currently developing an executive order and will pursue bipartisan legislation to help America lead the way in responsible AI innovation.

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