The Pentagon announced on Wednesday that they will invite “vetted” outside hackers next month to test the cyber security of several U.S. Defense Department websites.
“Hack the Pentagon” is a pilot project set up by the Pentagon’s Digital Defense Service (DDS) last November and is the first-ever program of its kind to be offered by the federal government. This unique project will allow the approved hackers to find and identify security problems on their networks before malicious hackers can exploit and breach them.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement,
“I am confident that this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security.”
“Hack the Pentagon” is taking on the model of similar competitions that are known as “bug bounties”, which are often conducted by large corporations to discover security gaps in the same manner. However, not all the details have been worked out regarding the competition.
According the Reuters,
One senior defense official said thousands of qualified participants were expected to join the initiative. Details and rules were still being worked out but the competition could involve monetary awards, the Pentagon said.
What they do know is all participants must be U.S. citizens and will have to undergo a background check before being accepted. It should be noted that the Pentagon said their more sensitive networks would not be a part of the program as of now.
“The goal is not to comprise any aspect of our critical systems, but to still challenge our cybersecurity in a new and innovative way,” the security official stated.