Pittsburgh Earning Reputation As Cyber Security Hub

Aug 16, 2016

CMU startup ForAllSecure's autonomous computer system Mayhem won the DARPA Cyber Grand Challenge in Las Vegas earlier this month.
Credit ForAllSecure

  

A recent Carnegie Mellon University win at a hacking competition in Las Vegas is helping put Pittsburgh on the map as a cyber security hub.

CMU startup ForAllSecure earned $2 million earlier this month at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s Cyber Grand Challenge, with an autonomous computer that can find security weaknesses and defend against malware, CEO David Brumley said.  

Friendly hackers have participated in capture the flag contests, in which teams or individuals are challenged to find the security flaws in a network, but in the Cyber Grand Challenge, hackers built computer systems capable of finding security flaws and protecting against malware. 

Brumley is also a faculty advisor of CMU’s competitive hacking team, the Plaid Parliament of Pwning, and director of CMU’s CyLab Security and Privacy Institute. The team recently won the Def Con Capture the Flag contest, the school’s third win in four years.

“We have the most startups that are literally winning the field against larger companies and really paving the way,” Brumley said. “So, Pittsburgh really is poised to become the center for cyber security.”

The team took on defense contractors and fellow teams from the University of California, Berkeley and University of California, Santa Barbara.