CS’s SecLab team Shellphish wins place in DARPA competition finale

Shellphish team
July 9, 2015


The Shellphish team, from the Department of Computer Science’s SecLab, is one of seven teams from around the country to have earned the right to play in the final competition of DARPA’s Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC). This first-of-its-kind tournament is designed to speed the development of automated security systems able to defend against cyber attacks as fast as they are launched. The winners successfully squared off against dozens of other teams for the opportunity to compete head to head next year for nearly $4 million in prizes—and the chance to help revolutionize cyber security going forward.

Out of 104 teams that had originally registered in 2014, 28 teams made it through two DARPA-sponsored dry runs and into last month’s CGC Qualifying Event. Each qualifying team will receive $750,000 to help them prepare over the next 13 months for the CGC final competition. The CGC final event will take place in Las Vegas in August 2016, in conjunction with DEF CON, home of the longest-running annual CTF competition for experts. The winning team from the CGC final competition will receive $2 million. Second place will earn $1 million and third place $750,000.

Professor Giovanni Vigna, faculty advisor and leader of the group explained, “The competition is similar to DARPA’s self-driving car challenge, but applied to automatically finding and patching vulnerabilities in binaries.”

Professor Vigna is a faculty member of the Computer Science Department at the University of California in Santa Barbara. His research focuses on malware analysis, web security, vulnerability analysis, and intrusion detection.

The original announcement from DARPA can be found here.

More information about the Cyber Grand Challenge can be found here.

Information about SecLab, its groups and its work can be found here.

For more about Professor Vigna and his work, please visit his website here.

A recent article from UCSB's "The Current" on the topic can be found here.