Carnegie Mellon University
August 05, 2016

CMU-spinoff ForAllSecure wins $2 million top prize at the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge

ForAllSecure, a Carnegie Mellon University spinoff startup, just took home $2 million in prize money as the winners of the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), a first-of-its-kind hacking contest in which all participants are autonomous computer systems. ForAllSecure was one of seven finalist teams in the contest, which took place on Thursday, August 4th, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Our vision is to check the world’s software for exploitable bugs so they can be fixed before attackers use them to hack computers,” says David Brumley, who wears several hats as CEO of ForAllSecure, director of Carnegie Mellon’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute, and professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We believe our technology can make the world’s computers safe and secure.”

ForAllSecure’s system, dubbed “MAYHEM” by the team, scans software for bugs, generates exploits, and fixes vulnerabilities. The system performs every task completely autonomously.

“This is a shining moment for a startup born at Carnegie Mellon,” says Jim Garrett, Dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s College of Engineering. “We couldn’t be more proud of ForAllSecure for applying its vision to the development of cutting-edge technology that addresses the global issue of security.”

DARPA launched the CGC in response to the recent increase in software bugs, due in large part to the explosion of the Internet of Things—billions of connected devices like smart thermostats or fitness trackers that are built with little regard to cybersecurity. The challenge aimed to identify state-of-the-art technology to find these bugs quickly, and at scale.

ForAllSecure was co-founded in 2012 by Brumley and two Carnegie Mellon graduate students, Thanassis Avgerinos and Alex Rebert. The startup currently has nine employees and is based in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.