In an Aug. 9 press release, the Biden administration revealed an opportunity for hackers to

compete for substantial monetary rewards by applying artificial intelligence (AI) to

safeguard vital United States infrastructure from cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

In spring 2024, a preliminary phase will select up to 20 high-performing teams to progress to

the semifinals of DEF CON 2024, which is a major cybersecurity conference.

Of these, a maximum of five teams will earn $2 million each and move on to the DEF CON 2025

finals. The top three teams will compete for extra prizes, including a $4 million award for the best

safeguarding of vital software, according to the official press release from The White House.

With an allocation of nearly $20 million in rewards, the AI Cyber Challenge brings together

prominent enterprises such as Anthropic, Google, Microsoft and OpenAI. These industry leaders

will contribute their technology to the competition, which was unveiled during the Black Hat USA

hacking conference held in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Participants will be requested to publicly share the inner workings of their systems,

enabling broader utilization of their solutions. Additionally, guidance for

the challenge is provided by the Open Source Security Foundation, a division of the Linux Foundation.

The organizing body of the competition — the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency

(DARPA) — has committed up to $1 million in financial support to seven small

enterprises aiming to join the competition in an effort to ensure a diverse range of participants.

The use of hacking competitions to foster innovation is not a new approach for the U.S.

government. Back in 2014, DARPA initiated the Cyber Grand Challenge,

which aimed at creating an open-source automated defense system capable of safeguarding

computers against cyber threats. The present two-year challenge follows a

comparable framework to this initiative.

The contest shows that there are official efforts to deal with a new threat that experts are

working to fully understand. In the past year, several U.S. companies have created different AI

tools, like ChatGPT, that let users make realistic videos, images, texts and code.

On Aug. 9, President Joe Biden issued an executive order to oversee fresh U.S. investments

and knowledge contributing to advancing sensitive technologies in China. Anticipated for

implementation in the coming year, the action focuses on investments in semiconductors,

microelectronics, quantum computing and specific AI capacities.

In the executive order, Biden cautioned that specific American investments might

aid the creation of sensitive technologies and products in nations using them to

counter U.S. and allied strengths.