Grumpy Editor notes media, aiming for front page or TV top story play, usually jump with mention of hackers into major U.S. government operations and facilities. But when the Department of Defense announces it is inviting hackers to test the department’s cyber security under a pilot program launching next month, that news is tucked away on inside pages or given a one-liner in over-the-air coverage.
The Pentagon is home to much military brass along with the secretary of defense, deputy secretary of defense, under secretaries of defense, director of defense research and engineering, assistant secretaries of defense, general counsel, director of operational test and evaluation, assistants to the secretary of defense, director of administration and management, among others.
That lineup, along with top-secret Pentagon information, provides lip-smacking appeal to hackers, especially those in some foreign nations.
The unusual upcoming operation, called the “Hack the Pentagon” initiative, is the first cyber bug bounty program in the federal government.
Under the pilot program, the department will use commercial sector crowd sourcing to allow qualified participants to conduct vulnerability identification and analysis on the department’s public Web pages.
Participants in the bug bounty will be required to register and submit to a background check prior to involvement with the program.
“Once vetted, the hackers will participate in a controlled, limited duration program that will allow them to identify vulnerabilities on a predetermined department system,” explains the Defense Department.
Participants in the competition could be eligible for monetary awards and other recognition, it adds.
Secretary of Defense Ash Carter says he is “confident this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defenses and ultimately enhance our national security.”
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Yes, with film at 11.