Hackers Invited to Attack Pentagon

I guess this is a “You hack my back and I hack yours” situation?

Secretary of Defense Ash Carter has called for people to “Hack the Pentagon.”  The Department of Defense is launching a new program to strengthen their cybersecurity.  Hackers will submit themselves for a background check to join the program, and if accepted, they’ll be allowed to attack the Pentagon’s computer systems.  Whatever bugs, backdoors, or other security breaches they find will earn them a bounty.

Like most of the rest of the government, the Department of Defense is slightly behind the curve compared to the civilian market.  Several major corporations also have bug bounty programs, such as Sony, AT&T, Facebook, and PayPal.

Forbes Magazine reports:  “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.”

The DoD publishes a long list of its websites and social media pages on defense.gov.

The “Hack the Pentagon” program will launch in April and the department will provide more details on requirements for participation and other ground rules in the coming weeks.

Hacking the Pentagon, of course, would be considered a high achievement in the world of hackers (I’m assuming, my technical knowledge doesn’t go far beyond a Google search.)  I’m certain that this is an offer that many hackers and other enthusiasts will jump at.  Still, something seems a bit fishy… Almost like some intern in the DoD said, “Hey, you know how we need to boost our cybersecurity?  How could we get a database of a ton of people who have the ability to hack us?”