U.S. DoD wants you (or professional hackers) to hack the Pentagon

Bet you thought you’d never be invited to breach the security of U.S. government — but you were wrong. In order to deliver comprehensive and more secure solutions, as well as better protect the country, hackers are being welcomed.

The Department of Defense announced that it is inviting vetted hackers to test the department’s cybersecurity under a unique pilot program called “Hack the Pentagon,” the first cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government.

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As part of the program, the department will use commercial sector crowdsourcing to allow qualified participants to conduct vulnerability identification and analysis on the department’s public webpages.

The  program was inspired by similar competitions that have been conducted by some large companies across the country in order to improve the security and delivery of networks, products, and digital services.

“I am always challenging our people to think outside the five-sided box that is the Pentagon,” said Ash Carter, U.S. Secretary of Defense.  “Inviting responsible hackers to test our cybersecurity certainly meets that test.  I am confident this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security.”

Participants will have to register and submit to a background check prior to any involvement and once vetted, they will participate in a controlled, limited duration program that will allow them to identify vulnerabilities on a predetermined department system.  For safety precautions, the program will not include critical, mission-facing systems.

As an added bonus, participants could even be eligible for monetary awards and other recognition.

 

The pilot program will launch in April and the department will provide more details on requirements for participation and other ground rules in the coming weeks.

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