The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) which is one of Pentagon’s major research agencies has organized a contest center around ethical hackers competing to break into the new generation of super-secure hardware designed by them for making medical databases, voting machines, and other vital digital systems more formidable against potential hackers before it is released to the public.
DARPA, which was also involved in the invention of the internet and GPS has offered hackers cash prizes only if they can expose any vulnerabilities using a program known as the “bug bounty” in the new generation of technology made up of re-engineering hardware and firmware (SSITH) like circuits and computer chips to make hackers’ major breaching methods on the technology’s software impotent.
This new generation of technology was built differently from the standard methodology used by major tech companies for cybersecurity which involves the development of continuous software patches to repair periodic breaches experienced by them through cybercriminals ’attacks.
DARPA Super-secure Hardware
Researchers from DARPA expect the tech industry to align with this new generation of technology which can help turn the tide against cybercriminals and in the long run improve cybersecurity since the invention of the internet.
DARPA has designed and developed model versions of several other computerized systems that have deployed the new hardware and that ethnical hackers will attempt breaking into.
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Keith Rebello, the research program coordinator, and the Office Program Manager for DARPA Microsystems Technology disclosed to Washington Post that “Up to 70 percent of all recorded cyberattacks resulted from hardware vulnerabilities. Fixing these bugs permanently means that a major part of the attacks will evaporate in the shortest time possible.”
The agency deliberately picked some of those models to highlight the dangers of the present generation of hardware which remain relatively unsafe and to visualize the potentiality of a safer world with the use of more super-secure hardware technology.
The biggest of them all is the voter registration database. Electoral officials from both Federal and States in America identifies the registrar’s systems as one of the major vulnerabilities if any hacker tries to interfere or influence the 2020 election.
To be eligible for the DARPA Bug Bounty program opened to reverse engineers, security researchers, and others, you will need to get through a ”Capture the Flag qualifier”. But security researchers who are presently outside the Synack's Red Team must pass a technical assessment.