The Pentagon is asking hackers to come and hack into their systems — No, you won’t go to jail for it
The US Defence Secretary Mr Ash Carter has invited hackers to hack into their systems to help find any security holes. In an effort to boost up its security system and check for any irregularities the Pentagon has decided to invite so-called “friendly” hackers to try and infiltrate their security systems in a scheme led by the Pentagon’s Defence Digital Service (DDS) known as Hack the Pentagon project.
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The project is set to be using the same model as that which is used by other private security firms which also want to find frailties in their own security systems. The programme will be set for only U.S citizens, and it’s reported that the Pentagon is also thinking of adding financial rewards.
The news comes as the FBI and Apple appeared before the Congress in the wake of Apple’s refusal to override encryption of a terrorist’s phone who killed 14 people in San Bernardino, California in December 2015. Speaking during his visit to Silicon Valley, Defence Secretary Ash Carter stated his backing to the data security systems and strong encryption. He declined to comment directly on the case but, however, urged the tech firms to work together and co-operate with the government as he warned against letting hostile countries like China and Russia from setting the rules on the internet.
The Pentagon expects thousands of applications and thus has decided to limit the content that the hackers can get access to therefore the key weapons programs and other sensitive networks will be unavailable though they might be added later on.
The Pentagon will be hoping to strengthen their systems as the program comes a day after it just announced that they would start using cyberattacks as a way to counter-attack against terrorism. These attacks would be used mainly against the notorious Islamic State group which has terrorised many countries in Europe and Africa as of late.
Prospective applicants are expected to be of US nationality, be willing to go through a rigorous background check and come out squeaky clean before being turned loose on a predetermined public facing computer system.
The applicants will also be used as a litmus test to check how good the internal teams that have been checking the Pentagon’s networks “so-called red teams” have fared up to now. “I am assured that this innovative initiative will strengthen our digital defences and ultimately enhance our national security,” Mr Carter said.
We can only hope that this is a step in the right direction, and the Pentagon is doing the right thing.