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Cyber experts invited to 'Hack the Pentagon'

Cyber experts invited to 'Hack the Pentagon'

Kristina Wong and Cory Bennett | The Hill

The Defense Department is inviting "vetted hackers" to test its cybersecurity in a new pilot program called "Hack the Pentagon."

"This innovative project is a demonstration of [Secretary of Defense Ash] Carter's continued commitment to drive the Pentagon to identify new ways to improve the department's security measures as our interests in cyberspace evolve," the Pentagon said in a statement Wednesday announcing the initiative.

It's the first "cyber bug bounty program in the history of the federal government," and is modeled after similar competitions held by the nation's biggest companies, the Pentagon said. 

Hackers are required to register and submit to a background check to participate in the program. Hackers must be U.S. citizens, according to Reuters.

Qualified participants will then try to identify vulnerabilities in Pentagon applications, websites, and networks. They could be eligible for monetary awards and other recognition. The program launches in April. 

"I am always challenging our people to think outside the five-sided box that is the Pentagon," said Secretary Ash Carter in a statement.  

"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." 

"Critical, mission-facing systems" will not be part of the program, the Pentagon said. 

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