Hackers Wanted: Pentagon Looking to Build Up Cyberarmy

The new plan, called “Hack the Pentagon” is the first-ever “cyber bug bounty” program in the history of the federal government, according to the Department of Defense.

by The Bakersfield Californian / March 3, 2016
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says he is confident the initiative "will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security." Flickr/Ash Carter

(TNS) — The government wants hackers to attack the Pentagon to test its cyber defenses.

The Department of Defense is currently recruiting experienced hackers. That’s not a job description you see everyday.

The new program, called “Hack the Pentagon,” launches in April, reports Time, and is the first-ever “cyber bug bounty” program in the history of the federal government, says the Department of Defense.

“I am always challenging our people to think outside the five-sided box that is the Pentagon,” said Secretary of Defense Ash Carter. “Inviting responsible hackers to test our cybersecurity certainly meets that test. I am confident this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security.”

Strangely, the Pentagon isn’t the first to undergo such a test. Some companies, like Google, pay hackers who find and report bugs that exploit its software.

The Department of Defense says the program is the “first in a series of programs designed to test and find vulnerabilities” in its apps, websites and networks.

If you’re an expert hacker and interested, all you have to do is register and submit a background check. If approved, hackers will seek out vulnerabilities on a predetermined department system, says Time.

“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,” said DDS Director and technology entrepreneur Chris Lynch.

In February, President Barack Obama proposed a $19 billion budget for cybersecurity for 2017 as part of an initiative called the Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which “puts in place a long-term strategy to enhance cybersecurity awareness and protections, protect privacy, maintain public safety as well as economic and national security, and empower Americans to take better control of their digital security,” according to whitehouse.gov.

©2016 The Bakersfield Californian (Bakersfield, Calif.), Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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