Software Development

Here’s an opportunity to hack the Pentagon

Yep, you read that right. The DoD is rolling out a “bug bounty” program next month.

DoD is looking to partner with select startups.

(Photo by Flickr user David B. Gleason, used under a Creative Commons license)

Want to hack the Pentagon, not get in trouble and even, perhaps, win some money? You’re in luck.
The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that it will test a limited “bug bounty” program next month, during which certain hackers will be invited to test the security of certain U.S. Defense Department websites. The initiative is being called “Hack the Pentagon.”
While bug bounties are a pretty popular practice in the private sector, Hack the Pentagon will be the first time the federal government has used such a program.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter hopes the program will help the Pentagon think outside the box when it comes to cybersecurity. “I am confident this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security,” he said in a statement announcing the initiative.
Hackers who wish to take part in the program must register and submit to a background check. The whole experiment will be tightly controlled, but there isn’t a lot of specific information out there on how just yet. The announcement promises more details in the coming weeks.
What is clear is that the project is being led by the DoD’s Defense Digital Service (DDS), which is an arm of the White House’s U.S. Digital Services. “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,” DDS Director Chris Lynch said in a statement.
Now, you could be part of that talent.
In a further melding of the public and private sectors, Secretary Carter announced the creation of a new Defense Innovation Advisory Board on Wednesday. The board will “enhance DoD’s culture, organization and processes by tapping innovators from the private sector, in Silicon Valley and beyond.” Carter named Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google and current executive chairman of Alphabet, as the board’s chair.


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