Cyber security has become a top concern among consumers and business owners alike. According to the cyber security firm Symantic, there were nine “mega preaches” in 2015, setting a new record. The firm also reports that the number of exposed identities jumped to 429 million last year.
But it’s not just consumers and business owners who are concerned about cyber threats; the United Stated military is also concerned about potential cyber threats. This has prompted the government to launch a new “Hack the Army” program, which lives up to its namesake by inviting the public to, well, hack the Army.
Army Secretary Eric Fanning announced the government’s new “Hack the Army” program while speaking at the Capital Factory in Austin, Texas on November 11. Also known as the “bug bounty challenge,” it seeks to reward hackers for identifying vulnerabilities in the Army’s websites, networks and digital storage systems.
As explained by Fanning, the Army isn’t “agile” enough to keep up with all trends in the tech world. So in order to protect its systems from cyber attacks, it’s seeking help from an unlikely source: the public. White-hat hackers are encouraged to browse through the Army’s systems in an effort to find vulnerabilities.
“We’re not agile enough to keep up with a number of things that are happening in the tech world and in other places outside the Department of Defense. We’re looking for new ways of doing business,” explained Army Secretary Eric Fanning. “Here, we are not just meeting them face-to-face, we are challenging them. Take your best shot. Bring it on.”
Of course, there was a similar program known as “Hack the Pentagon,” which also rewarded white-hat hackers for identifying vulnerabilities. But unlike “Hack the Pentagon,” “Hack the Army” includes personal identifiable information.
“Hack the Army” is expected to take place in the upcoming weeks. It’s being led by the security consulting firm HackerOne, which will invite some of the country’s leading security researchers and white-hat hackers to participate in the challenge. With that said, the program is open to anyone who registers. Furthermore, both civilians and active military personnel are allowed to participate in the program.
Bug bounty programs like “Hack the Army” and “Hack the Pentagon” aren’t new. Google, Microsoft and Apple have been conducting similar challenges for years — and apparently it works well. By rewarding the public for finding vulnerabilities, companies and government entities can improve the security of their systems and networks.
What do you think of the Hack the Army program?