Department of Defense launches new ‘Hack the Pentagon’ program

By Shen Gao
Staff Writer

An aerial view of the Pentagon
Photo: gregwest98/Flickr

Recently, the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) has announced a pilot program inviting computer security specialists to hack DoD public web pages. This “Hack the Pentagon” initiative—a cyber bug bounty program—is the first of its kind in the history of the federal government.

In industry, bug bounty programs are deals offered by website and software developers which encourage talented individuals to receive recognition for finding and solving bugs, especially those that put companies’ security at risk. These programs are designed to troubleshoot bugs before they cause incidents in the real world.

According to a senior defense official, “[Hack the Pentagon] allows us to use [hackers’] skill sets, their expertise, to help us build better, more secure products and make the country more secure.”

Program participants will have to register and go through a series of background checks beforehand. Once vetted, they will be able to participate in a program in which they can identify risks on a specific department system.

The department’s mission-facing systems will not be part of the program.

This pilot program will launch in April, and more details and requirements for participation will be provided. It sure is a program that encourage you to think outside the five-sided box.

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