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Hack the Air Force 3.0 Earns Researchers $130,000

The U.S. Defense Department and bug bounty platform HackerOne on Thursday announced the results of Hack the Air Force 3.0.

Hack the Air Force 3.0, the third bug bounty program run by the Air Force with assistance from HackerOne, took place between October 19 and November 22. Nearly 30 white hat hackers took part in the challenge and they discovered more than 120 vulnerabilities, for which they earned over $130,000. The DoD previously revealed that the minimum payout was $5,000 for critical vulnerabilities.

“It’s critical to allow these researchers to uncover vulnerabilities in Air Force websites and systems, which ultimately strengthens our cybersecurity posture and decreases our vulnerability surface area,” said Capt. James “JT” Thomas, Air Force Digital Services. “By opening up these types of challenges to more countries and individuals, we get a wide range of talent and experience we would normally not have access to in order to harden out networks.”

Previous Hack the Air Force challenges paid out roughly $130,000 in the first edition and over $100,000 in the second challenge. Over 430 unique security flaws have been fixed as a result of these events.

The DoD has launched several other bug bounty challenges in the past years, including Hack the Pentagon, Hack the Army, Hack the Marine Corps and Hack the Defense Travel System. With the latest Hack the Air Force, the total amount paid out to researchers has reached over $630,000, which represents the rewards for more than 5,000 valid vulnerabilities.

The recent Hack the Marine Corps program resulted in payouts totaling over $150,000 for 150 flaws.

Related: U.S. General Service Administration Launches Bug Bounty Program

Related: Pentagon Launches Continuous Bug Bounty Program

Related: GitLab Launches Public Bug Bounty Program

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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.