The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched a program that aims to help developers understand emergent behavior in computers to prevent cyber attackers from generating malicious and unintended computations using already embedded features of critical systems.
DARPA is seeking interested proposers for the Hardening Development Toolchains Against Emergent Execution Engines initiative to study theories and approaches and develop tools for mitigating emergent software behaviors throughout the software development phase where they are usually overlooked, the agency said Wednesday.
The HARDEN effort seeks to address the current process of system designers unknowingly enabling emergent behaviors because of their focus on ensuring a software can perform its task, taking away time to consider what unexpected conduct it could exhibit.
Aside from theory analysis and tool development, participants will explore methods to disrupt the exploit execution engine located at the design level that causes a system to act awry and apply such ideas to concrete technological use cases of integrated software.
“We want to ensure we’re creating models that will be of actual use to critical defense systems,” said Sergey Bratus, a program manager in DARPA's Information Innovation Office.
The agency plans to discuss the program with potential offerors at a virtual meeting scheduled for Thursday.
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