Calling All Computer Hackers


By Debbie Gregory.

The Pentagon is looking for a few good computer hackers. But it may not be what you think.

In an effort to test the security of its web pages and networks, the cyber bug bounty program is aimed at finding and fixing cybersecurity vulnerabilities.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he will be “inviting responsible hackers to test our cybersecurity,” adding that he believes the program will “strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security.”

According to the Pentagon, this is the first time the federal government has undertaken a program with outsiders attempting to breach the networks. Large companies have done similar things.

Called “Hack the Pentagon,” the program is slated to begin in April. Hackers will target a predetermined system that’s not part of the Department of Defense’s critical operations.

According to Defense Digital Service (DDS) Director Chris Lynch, “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.”

The DDS is a Department of Defense unit that was launched last fall as part of the White House’s U.S. Digital Service.

According to officials, Defense Department systems get probed and attacked millions of times each and every day.

“We’re trying to adopt what is a best practice,” Carter said. “It’s a way of crowdsourcing the expertise and having access to good people. … You’d much rather find the vulnerabilities in your networks in that way.”

The new program is being led by the Defense Digital Service, which was created by Carter last November.

Carter said the hackers would get some kind of reward, beyond the distinction of having beached the world’s greatest military’s systems. But he didn’t provide details.

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