The “Hack the Pentagon” program is officially a go, and the Department of Defense has announced it will start welcoming hackers into its public web pages when the program launches in April.
The Department of Defense said the “Hack the Pentagon” program is the first ever cyber bug bounty program undertaken by federal government. In the corporate IT world, though, these bounty programs tend to be common.
Bug bounty programs are typically competitions to help big companies identify vulnerabilities and therefore improve security systems. According to bugsheet.com, there have been 153 bounties so far, and hacking has been done with 369 programs from the likes of Adobe, Amazon, Apple, AT&T, BlackBerry, Facebook and Google.
The Pentagon has the same goal with their program. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has always been encouraging his people “to think outside the five-sided box that is the Pentagon.” For him, this is an innovative way to test Defense’s cyber security. Moreover, he adds, “I am confident this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security.” Hackers, beware, though. The event will only invite vetted “white hat” hackers.
People who wish to participate in the “Hack the Pentagon” program would have to register and submit to a background check prior to hacking anything. Once they have been vetted, they will be allowed to participate in what the Pentagon refers to as a “controlled, limited duration program.”
The limit the Pentagon is imposing for this program has something to do with “critical, mission-facing systems.” And as for the rewards, the Pentagon says participants may become “eligible for monetary awards and other recognition.”