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DoD Launches "Hack the Air Force" Bug Bounty Program

Following the success of the “Hack the Pentagon” and “Hack the Army” initiatives, the U.S. Department of Defense announced on Wednesday the launch of the “Hack the Air Force” bug bounty program.

Hack the Air Force” will be the Pentagon’s largest bug bounty project as it’s open to experts not only from the United States, but also from Five Eyes countries, which includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

The program, run on the HackerOne platform, aims to help the Air Force strengthen its critical assets. White hat hackers who report vulnerabilities will be eligible for monetary rewards, but the exact amounts have not been specified.

Only vetted researchers can register; military members and government civilians can participate, but they will not earn any rewards.

“This is the first time the AF has opened up our networks to such a broad scrutiny,” said Air Force Chief Information Security Officer Peter Kim. “We have malicious hackers trying to get into our systems every day. It will be nice to have friendly hackers taking a shot and, most importantly, showing us how to improve our cybersecurity and defense posture. The additional participation from our partner nations greatly widens the variety of experience available to find additional unique vulnerabilities.”

Registration for “Hack the Air Force” opens on May 15. The event will take place between May 30 and June 23.

A total of 371 people registered for the previous Hack the Army program. They submitted 416 vulnerability reports, 118 of which were classified as unique and actionable. Participants were awarded roughly $100,000.

Hack the Pentagon received 138 valid submissions and it cost the U.S. government $150,000, half of which went to participants.

Related: Pentagon to Launch More Bug Bounty Programs

Related: HackerOne Offers Free Service to Open Source Projects

Related: HackerOne Penetrates VC Pockets for $40 Million

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Eduard Kovacs (@EduardKovacs) is a contributing editor at SecurityWeek. He worked as a high school IT teacher for two years before starting a career in journalism as Softpedia’s security news reporter. Eduard holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial informatics and a master’s degree in computer techniques applied in electrical engineering.