After robot cars and robot rescue workers, US research agency Darpa is turning its attention to robot hackers.

Best known for its part in bringing the internet into being, the Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency has more recently brought engineers together to tackle what it considers to be “grand challenges”.

These competitions try to accelerate research into issues it believes deserve greater attention – they gave rise to serious work on autonomous vehicles and saw the first stumbling steps towards robots that could help in disaster zones.

Next is a Cyber Grand Challenge that aims to develop software smart enough to spot and seal vulnerabilities in other programs before malicious hackers even know they exist.

“Currently, the process of creating a fix for a vulnerability is all people, and it’s a process that’s reactive and slow,” said Mike Walker, head of the Cyber Grand Challenge at Darpa.

Source: Can machines keep us safe from cyber-attack?