Champion robot hacker may fix Internet bugs

Feb 02, 2017, 5:19 AM EST
(Source: The Preiser Project/flickr)
(Source: The Preiser Project/flickr)

Mayhem, software that trounced high-powered computers at a hacking competition in Las Vegas, is being adapted to automatically diagnose and patch vulnerabilities in certain kinds of software and Internet devices such as routers. The development would be a big step forward for companies that need huge human resources like reverse engineers and white-hat hackers to fix security loops in their software.

The Cyber Grand Challenge contest, where Mayhem bagged a $2 million hacking prize, pitted bots against bots, asking them to play offense and defense, fix security holes in their own machine and the machine of others, notes Wired.

Although, the performance of these autonomous hackers impressed security hackers, many believe the machines have a long way to go to fix the enormously complex bugs that humans can detect. Carnegie Mellon professor David Brumley, cofounder of the security startup that created Mayhem, says relying only on humans to address security vulnerabilities “slows down the process,” a challenge that autonomous hackers and fixers can address, writes MIT Technology Review.