Government Asking People To “Hack The Pentagon” To Find Security Flaws

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The Pentagon is joining a long list of companies and organizations in opening the door to hackers by asking for the public’s help in testing the cybersecurity infrastructure of some of its websites. 

In the first so-called “bug bounty” program offered by the federal government, the Department of Defense is asking vetted outside hackers to find and identify problems with its cybersecurity systems.

Under the pilot program, known as “Hack the Pentagon,” participants will be required to register and submit to a background check.

Once vetted, hackers will participate in a controlled, limited duration program allowing them to identify vulnerabilities on a predetermined department system.

Hackers who find an issue could receive monetary rewards or other recognition, the Defense Digital Services department, which will oversee the program, said in a statement.

“Bringing in the best talent, technology and processes from the private sector not only helps us deliver comprehensive, more secure solutions to the DoD, but it also helps us better protect our country,” Chris Lynch, the department’s Defense Digital Service Director, said in a statement.

Of course some areas of the Department, such as “critical, mission-facing systems,” will be off-limits during the pilot.

Department of Defense Secretary Ash Carter says he’s “confident” the initiative will strengthen the agency’s digital defenses and “ultimately enhance our national security.”

The program is modeled after similar bug bounty programs used by companies such as United Airlines, GoogleGeneral Motors, and Tesla.

[via Reuters]