Did someone say AI? Microsoft may be able to block malware before it is able to do any damage. That is, if the results of a new competition go according to plan.

The software titan has launched a new competition on Kaggle that calls for participants to develop AI based solutions that would make malware ineffective in ways that would prevent cyber infections from damaging a protected system.

Basically, the goal is to design an implementation that blocks malware before it reaches the target, thereby ensuring that no data is compromised.

This is how Microsoft explains things on the official website of the competition:

“As one part of their overall strategy for doing so, Microsoft is challenging the data science community to develop techniques to predict if a machine will soon be hit with malware. As with their previous, Malware Challenge (2015), Microsoft is providing Kagglers with an unprecedented malware dataset to encourage open-source progress on effective techniques for predicting malware occurrences.”

And in case you’re wondering, this unprecedented malware dataset comes down to 9.4GB of anonymous data from 16.8 million systems.

The objective being to develop a system that would provide the highest possible accuracy.

It wouldn’t be a competition if there are no prizes, right?

A total of $25,000 is on offer, with the first place to get $12,000 and the runner-up set to receive $7,000. Not bad for a day, or two dozen, of work, eh? More than that, it would help artificial intelligence and machine learning experts find their way around blocking malware in the very first stage of a cyberattack.

The contest runs through March 13, 2019, in case you are up for it.

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