WASHINGTON – The Pentagon is looking for some good hackers.
Selected high-tech specialists will attempt to hack the public web pages of the Department of Defense as part of a pilot program to find and fix cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Defense officials outlined the plan on Wednesday, but had few details on how it would work, what Pentagon systems would be tested, and how hackers would be compensated.
Called “Hack the Pentagon,” the program will begin next month. Department officials and lawyers have yet to resolve a number of legal issues involving the authorization of so-called “hackers” to breach active Pentagon websites.
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Defense Secretary Ash Carter said he would “invite responsible hackers to test our cybersecurity”, adding that he believed the program “would strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately improve our national security. “.
Defense Ministry systems are probed and attacked millions of times a day, officials say.
The new program is led by the Defense Digital Service, created by Carter last November.
According to the Pentagon, this is the first time the federal government has undertaken a program with aliens trying to break into the networks. Big companies have done similar things.
Officials said the pilot program will involve public networks or websites that do not contain any sensitive information or personal data about employees.
This is called a “bonus” program. But it’s unclear whether the hackers will receive a lump sum or based on their accomplishments – or whether they will be offered only the glory and notoriety of violating the world’s largest military systems.