Actual Hackers Need Not Apply to ‘Hack the Pentagon‚Äô Program

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The U.S. Defense Department on Thursday announced registration is open for its “Hack the Pentagon” program.

The cybersecurity effort is designed to have outside experts identify vulnerabilities on defense networks in return for a payment, or “bug bounty.” The program is scheduled to run from April 18 through May 12, with prize money issued no later than June 10, according to a press release.

Exactly how many bounties — and how big they‚Äôll be — is unclear. Individual payments will apparently “come from the $150,000 in funding for the program,” according to the release. The Pentagon outsourced management of the effort to HackerOne, a Silicon Valley-based company, which has posted more information about the pilot.

Of course, actual hackers need not apply.

“Eligible participants must be a U.S. person, and must not be on the U.S. Treasury Department‚Äôs Specially Designated Nationals list of people and organizations engaged in terrorism, drug trafficking and other crimes,” the release states.

What‚Äôs more, Pentagon Press Secretary Peter Cook said participants who submit successful “vulnerability reports” will still have to undergo a criminal background screening “to ensure taxpayer dollars are spent wisely,” it states. “Those who opt out of the screening will forgo bounty compensation.”

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Brendan McGarry
Brendan McGarry is the managing editor of He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter at @Brendan_McGarry.