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U.S. Military Invites Experts to “Hack the Pentagon” | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Hack the Pentagon



San Francisco- As a very novel program to ever be offered by the federal government, the Pentagon declared on Wednesday that it planned to invite vetted outside hackers to detect and examine the cybersecurity of some public U.S. Defense Department websites as part of a pilot project next month.

Seeking to discover gaps in the security of their networks, competitions known as “bug bounties” are conducted by big U.S companies, including United Continental Holdings Inc. and by the same token “Hack the Pentagon” is modeled after the aforementioned competitions to inspect its cybersecurity. It’s worth noting that similar programs permit cyber experts to find and identify problems before malicious hackers can exploit them. This saves both money and time in the event of damaging network breaches.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter said in a statement unveiling the pilot program “I am confident that this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security”.

Thousands of qualified participants were expected to join the initiative, as said by one senior defense official. Further on this subject the Pentagon stated that more details and rules are still being worked out but the competition could involve monetary awards. It’s worth noting that the Pentagon has long tested its own networks using internal so-called “red teams,” but this initiative would open at least some of the department’s vast network of computer systems to cyber challenges from across industry and academia.

Before being turned loose on a predetermined public-facing computer system all participants aught to be U.S. citizens and will have to register and submit to a background check, stated the Pentagon. It said other more sensitive networks or key weapons programs would not be included, at least initially. “The goal is not to comprise any aspect of our critical systems, but to still challenge our cybersecurity in a new and innovative way,” said the official.

The Pentagon’s Defense Digital Service (DDS) is leading the initiative which was set up last November to bring experts from the U.S. technology industry into the military for short stints.

Chris Lynch, a former Microsoft executive and technology entrepreneur who heads DDS stated that bringing in the greatest talent along with technology and processes from the private sector will aid in delivering comprehensive, and more secure solutions to the DOD.

Carter introduced Lynch during a speech to the Commonwealth Club on Tuesday and said he had already recruited coders from companies like Google and Shopify for a Pentagon “tour of duty.”