How to Win Part of the $20 Million AI Cyber Challenge Prize

DARPA has partnered with Google, Microsoft and OpenAI to launch a $20 million AI competition. Here's how you can take part.

Hackers are invited to win nearly $20 million in total prizes by competing in a new AI cybersecurity competition organized by DARPA alongside tech giants Google and Microsoft.

The AI Cyber Challenge, or AIxCC for short, is intended as a showcase for the hacking community to develop new AI-powered solutions to defend critical US software infrastructure.

As such, it's also being supported by two key AI players: OpenAI – who owns ChatGPT – and Anthropic. A final backer of the competition is the Linux Foundation's OpenSSF (Open Source Security Foundation).

Interested? Here's everything you need to know about the event, including how to register for the AI Cyber Challenge and the key dates of the AIxCC.

What Is the AI Cyber Challenge?

The AI Cyber Challenge is an initiative recently announced at the Black Hat USA 2023 conference in Las Vegas, Nevada. It will run over two-years, with registration starting this November for the open track.

A second, funded track is also being offered where seven small businesses will receive up to $1 million each to develop a specific proposal. These companies will be selected on a competitive basis, and their proposals will subject to a number of requirements, though ultimately they'll be pitted in open competition against other successful registrants.

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Monetary prizes will be distributed to various successful participants throughout the competition, with things heating up in the semifinals, where teams can win $2 million each.

The top prize, awarded at the final at DEF CON 2025, is $4 million for the team that “best secures vital software.” That could be you, so read on as we explain how to give yourself a chance of winning part of this epic $20 million prize pot.

Key Dates to Register for the AI Cyber Challenge

The first thing you need to do to give yourself a chance of winning part of the epic $20 million AIxCC prize pot is to register for the competition. You'll be able to do this on the official AIxCC website.

Unfortunately, at the time of publication, registration is not yet open for the AI Cyber Challenge. However, it is set to open imminently for the funded track, while the open track – which, as its name indicates, is open to anyone – will welcome registrants from November 2023.

Here's a quick look at the AI Cyber Challenge registration dates:

  • August 17: Proposals for AIxCC Funded Track open
  • September 19: Proposals for AIxCC Funded Track close
  • November 1: General registration opens for AIxCC on its website
  • December 15: General registration closes for AIxCC

In the meantime, you can sign up for updates about the event on the website, as well as get full details of how to take part in the competition in the Participate section, as well as read the all-important Rules.

AI Cyber Challenge schedule graphic

AI Cyber Challenge Schedule

Once the registration window has closed, there's a gap of a couple of months before the competition gets underway. The action will officially kick-off with a special event in February 2024, the organizers say, with preliminary rounds taking place shortly thereafter.

Here's a quick look at next year's AIxCC schedule. Dates are currently provisional, but we'll be sure to update this article as soon as the specifics get pinned down.

  • February 2024: AIxCC Kickoff Event
  • Spring 2024: AIxCC Preliminary rounds
  • Late-Spring 2024: AIxCC Qualifying competition
  • August 2024: AIxCC Semifinals
  • August 2024: AIxCC Final
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Written by:

James Laird is a technology journalist with 10+ years experience working on some of the world's biggest websites. These include TechRadar, Trusted Reviews, Lifehacker, Gizmodo and The Sun, as well as industry-specific titles such as ITProPortal. His particular areas of interest and expertise are cyber security, VPNs and general hardware.

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