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Government Invites Hackers to Try to Hack the Gibson–er, Pentagon


Provided you can pass a background check, the federal government wants you to do something that they’ve never asked the public to do before: hack the Pentagon. The Department of Defense is currently on the search for hackers, though this time, they’re actually asking for their help. American hackers who pass muster will be invited to a “Hack the Pentagon,” which is the title for what is basically a bug bounty program.

If it sounds familiar, that’s because this program is based on similar programs at big corporations and companies: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Apple, and the like. Each of them has a pretty hefty bug bounty in place for folks who find and report exploits or bugs that lead to security vulnerabilities. It’s an interesting way to crowdsource QA testing, in essence, and it incentivizes people “doing the right thing” instead of exploiting said bugs on their own.

There aren’t any specific details about what the Department of Defense might be offering for found bugs, but they did say that the bigger the bug, the bigger the reward. Seems right, there, doesn’t it?

This program is considered a pilot program, so if it proves very helpful, then one can expect to see similar programs pop up in other government branches. Maybe not the CIA, though. Yeah… I’m going to say the CIA might not go for this one.

(via Yahoo News, image via Shutterstock/Africa Studio)

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Jessica Lachenal is a writer who doesn’t talk about herself a lot, so she isn’t quite sure how biographical info panels should work. But here we go anyway. She's the Weekend Editor for The Mary Sue, a Contributing Writer for The Bold Italic (, and a Staff Writer for Spinning Platters ( She's also been featured in Model View Culture and Frontiers LA magazine, and on Autostraddle. She hopes this has been as awkward for you as it has been for her.