HACKERS, CHRISTMAS may have come early as the US Department of Defence (DoD) is actually asking you to hack the pentagon.
There are no strings attached, apparently, but there might be wiretaps*, and the DoD put out the invitation over Facebook, perhaps in an attempt to make this look cosy and friendly.
"Today we announced that the DoD will invite vetted hackers to hack the Pentagon in an effort to test our digital security in the first federal government bug bounty. Under the pilot programme, we will allow qualified participants to identify vulnerabilities on the department's public web pages," said secretary of defence Ash Carter.
"The bug bounty is modelled after similar competitions conducted by some of the nation's biggest companies - Microsoft, Google and Facebook - to improve the security and delivery of networks, products and digital services."
We think that only a certain type of hacker will apply, and it probably will not be the kind whom the DoD really wants to gets its hands on. Those would be bad eggs, or 'actors' as we call them in these circumstances. They probably try to hack the Pentagon all the time.
Applicants are going to have to register and undergo a background check, and the DoD will possibly be able to spot a fake one. The DoD hopes that a coming together of the department and the right sort of people will improve America's defences and strengthen its cyber borders. Lord knows they need it.
"This project is a demonstration of my continued commitment to drive the Pentagon to identify new ways to improve the DoD's security measures as our interests in cyber space evolve," said Carter.
"Bringing in the best talent, technology and processes from the private sector helps us deliver comprehensive, more secure solutions to the DoD and better protect our country.
"Participants in the bug bounty will be required to register and submit to a background check prior to any involvement with the pilot programme. Once vetted, these hackers will participate in a controlled, limited duration programme that will allow them to identify vulnerabilities on a predetermined asset.
"This bug bounty will not compromise any of the department's critical, mission-facing systems. Instead, it will challenge our digital security in new and innovative ways."
Comments under the Facebook post confirm that the competition is not for everyone, and a certain kind of hacker is very unlikely to take part. Carter remains positive, however.
"The pilot programme will launch in April and we will provide more details on requirements for participation and other ground rules in the coming weeks, including information about possible monetary awards and other recognition," he added in a final promotional push.
"I am always challenging our people to think outside the five-sided box that is the Pentagon. Inviting responsible hackers to test our digital security certainly meets that test.
"I am confident that this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defences and ultimately enhance our national security. I encourage all who meet the requirements to participate in this historic opportunity to see if you can hack the Pentagon." µ
*We're just joking, of course.
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